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Volume of DDoS attacks continues to surge

(Image credit: Image Credit: Jariyawat Thinsandee / Freepik)

The volume of Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks skyrocketed in Q2, amid an increase in reliance on online services as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.

According to a new report from web security firm Cloudflare, the number of DDoS attacks doubled quarter-on-quarter, compounding existing growth recorded in the first three months of the year.

Smaller attacks dominated the landscape, with nearly 90 percent of all DDoS attacks coming in under 10Gbps and 76 percent under 1 million packets per second. Most attacks (83 percent) also lasted under one hour, which the report suggests hints at an increase in the number of DDoS-for-hire groups in operation.

Despite their brevity and small scale, these attacks can still prove an effective means of disrupting services. “Small attacks that peak below 10Gbps can still easily cause an outage to most of the websites and internet properties around the world,” explained the report.

Although less common, large scale attacks also appear to be trending larger. The vast majority (88 percent) of attacks over 100Gbps this year have taken place since lockdown came into effect. 

Cloudflare also observed one particularly large DDoS attack, peaking at 754 million packets per second. The attack was part of an organized four-day campaign that saw traffic from over 316,000 IP addresses target a single address.

The report attributes the rise in DDoS attacks to the newfound importance of internet connection to all aspects of life, as a result of isolation made necessary by the pandemic.

“In the first quarter of 2020, within a matter of weeks, our way of life shifted. We’ve become reliant on online services more than ever,” said the firm.

“Employees that can are working from home, students of all ages and grades are taking classes online and we’ve redefined what it means to stay connected. The more the public is dependent on staying connected, the larger the potential reward for attackers to cause chaos and disrupt our way of life.”