Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks are sometimes used by cybercriminals to distract businesses while hackers sneak in through the back door, a survey from Kaspersky Lab and B2B International suggests.
Over half of businesses questioned (56%) are confident that DDoS has been used as a smokescreen for other kinds of cybercrime, and of those business respondents, a large majority (87%) reported that they had also been the victim of a targeted attack.
The Kaspersky Lab IT Security Risks 2016 study showed that when businesses have suffered from cybercrime, DDoS has often been part of the attack tactics (29%). For example, a worrying quarter (26%) of businesses that have suffered data loss as a result of a targeted attack, named DDoS as one of the contributing vectors. Overall, 56% of business representatives surveyed believed that the DDoS attacks their companies had experienced were a smokescreen or decoy for other criminal activities.
Kirill Ilganaev, Head of Kaspersky DDoS Protection, explained why DDoS attacks may appeal to cybercriminals as part of their tactics. He said, “DDoS prevents a company from carrying on its normal activities by putting either public or internal services on hold. This is obviously a real problem to businesses and it is often ‘all hands on deck’ in the IT team, to try and fix the problem quickly, so the business can carry on as before. DDoS can therefore be used not only as an easy way to stop the activity of a company, but also as a decoy to distract IT staff from another intrusion taking place through other channels.”
The study found that when DDoS attacks have been used by cybercriminals as a smokescreen, businesses also faced threats such as losses and exploits through mobile devices (81%), the actions of other organizations (78%), phishing scams (75%) and even the malicious activity of internal staff (75%). The majority (87%) were also victims of targeted attacks.
Ilganaev continued, “The research shows us that DDoS attacks are often aligned with other threats. Businesses therefore need to be aware of the full threat landscape, and prepared to deal with multiple types of criminal activity at any one time. Failure to do this could increase the collateral damage, on top of already significant losses caused by downtime and the resulting impact on reputation. Businesses need to use a reliable DDoS protection service to reduce the risk of DDoS and help staff concentrate their efforts on protecting the business from any threats that can be hidden as a result.”