The technology world is full of scare stories and half-truths designed to catch attention or to drive demand. Yet we can emphatically say the stories you’ve been reading around DDoS attacks are something for real concern. And it’s quite easy to explain why: the motivations for launching DDoS attacks are strong and many. Below, we’ll discuss why you should be increasingly worried about DDoS attacks in 2018 and why preventing denial of service attacks is of critical important.
The Motivation Behind DDoS Attacks
A distributed denial-of-service or DDoS attack is simply a massive flow of internet traffic that is sent from a range of devices distributed over a wide geographic area, designed to disrupt the services of a website or computer network. The motivation for these attacks are many and varied, but can broadly be grouped into these categories:
Money and Extortion
The cyber attack industry is a profitable industry and one of the easiest ways for criminals to make money is to launch a DDoS attack. The theory is simple: overwhelm a victim’s defenses (if any) to such an extent that they cannot recover and start to lose serious business – and money. Once the victim concludes that they are unable to stop the attack they are often willing to pay large sums to the attackers to ensure the attack ceases.
Hacktivism and Political Motivations
Both businesses and governmental organizations can be a victim of cyber attackers who simply try to make a point. Don’t like the way a company is behaving? Stopping the business in its tracks with a DDoS attack may change its mind, or so the thinking goes. Likewise, with governments, many DDoS attacks are launched because a group of activists doesn’t like the way a government behaves or are not happy with a political situation.
Warfare and Cyberterrorism
For whatever reason, a state actor or terrorist organization may wish to inflict harm on another country, its citizens or its economic actors. Large-scale, persistent DDoS attacks can inflict enormous economic damage by removing the ability of citizens and companies to make transactions and go about their day to day activities. In fact, DDoS is a tool of online warfare that can be very effective if the victims do not have the right DDoS defenses in place.
Why it’s Going to Get Even Worse Through 2018?
Clearly, there is a wide range of motivation for DDoS attacks, some of which carry very high payoffs for the criminals involved. That’s why DDoS attacks are so prevalent and why there is such a wide range of victims – no business or organization can say they will be safe without protection. Thing is, we are expecting it to become much worse through 2018.
Faster Communications, Including 5G
We’re at the edge of a network communications revolution thanks to 5G. With faster bandwidth and the ability for smaller devices to connect to the internet, 5G will transform internet connectivity around the world. 5G will also provide more opportunities for criminals to launch DDoS attacks, more bandwidth means more attack capacity, while the costs of attacks are also reduced.
The Internet of Things
OK, IoT devices are not new to 2018 but IoT continues to explode and 5G will be a driver. This means that attackers have even more devices to choose from when launching attacks. DDoS attacks can be launched using the web of billions of IoT devices that are connected to the internet, again allowing for more widespread attack capacity and a more distributed approach.
DDoS for Rent
One of the things that are rapidly changing the DDoS landscape is the availability of DDoS-for-rent services. Professional criminals have realized how many people and companies there are that want to cause harm to others but who do not have the technical knowledge to launch a DDoS attack. Now, a rogue party can simply rent a DDoS attacker’s skills and at surprisingly low prices. DDoS for rent has opened up the floodgates to many more parties that hold ill will.
What Businesses Can Do to Get DDoS Protection
It should be abundantly clear by now that the motivations for launching DDoS attacks are many and that the resources for launching these attacks are rapidly expanding. Without a question, every business should put its online networks behind a protective layer to prevent DDoS attacks. Ideally, this protection should be a cloud service that has high-capacity networks that can soak up massive DDoS attacks that generate traffic streams of terabits per second.
Your business should be concerned about DDoS and must obtain effective protection that can ensure rapid attack mitigation (ideally in less than ten seconds) without getting in the way of bona fide traffic that you want to allow. The best vendors will also be able to deal with increasingly common multi-vector attacks and will offer you the assurance of an SLA, including uptime as high as 99.99999%.