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DDOS attacks on the rise

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In the second quarter of this year, the total number of DDOS attacks grew by 18%, compared to the same period in 2018. 

Application-layer attacks, which are more difficult to organise and protect against, also showed dramatic growth – increasing in number by 32% in the same time period, and now constitute just under half (46%) of all attacks prevented by Kaspersky DDOS Protection. 

These were two of the findings revealed by Kaspersky’s DDOS Q2 2019 report, which also noted that the number of attacks in the second quarter of 2019 dropped by 44% from Q1.  The company said this is not unusual as these types of attack normally drop in activity over the latter part of Q1 and Q2, as this coincides with late spring and summer across the northern hemisphere, and is a popular time of year for seasonal holiday makers. 

“However, compared with the same period last year, the quantity of DDOS attacks in Q2 increased by 18% and by 25% when compared with Q2 2017,” says Kaspersky.

One thing worth noting, said Kaspersky, is that the seasonal decrease had a minimal effect on the number of application layer attacks, reducing these by a mere 4% compared to the previous quarter. 

“Application layer attacks target certain functions or APIs of applications in order to consume not only the network, but server resources as well. They are also harder to detect and protect from, as they include the performing of legitimate requests,” the company explained.

When compared with Q2 2018, the quantity of these type of attacks has increased by almost a third (32%) and the share of such attacks in Q2 2019 rose to 46%. This is a 9% increase in share compared to the first quarter of the year, and 15% more than in the same period of 2018.

Alexey Kiselev, business development manager on the Kaspersky DDOS Protection team, says traditionally, troublemakers who conduct DDOS attacks for fun go on holiday during the summer, slowing down their activity until September. 

However, the statistics for this quarter show that professional attackers, who perform complex DDOS attacks, are not slowing down this year. “This trend is rather worrying for businesses. Many are well protected against high volumes of junk traffic, but DDOS attacks on the application layer require to identify illegitimate activity even if its volume is low.”

Analysis of commands received by bots from command and control servers, showed that the longest DDOS attack of Q2 2019 lasted a whopping 509 hours or nearly 21 days. 

“This is the lengthiest attack since Kaspersky started to monitor botnet activity in 2015. Previously, the longest attack lasted 329 hours and was registered in Q4 2018.”

To help businesses protect themselves from DDOS attacks, Kaspersky recommends taking several steps. Firstly, ensure that Web and IT resources can handle high traffic. Next, use professional solutions to protect the organisation against attacks, and ensure that DDOS protection solutions are ready to withstand these complex application layer attacks.

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