DDoS attacks have increased by over 200% in the last year, according to new research from Imperva. The uptick in attacks has been attributed to DDoS-for-hire services, the company said.
DDoS attacks are now among the most common cyber threats businesses can face, according to Imperva. Between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016 it recorded an average of 445 attacks targeting its customers per week. More than 40% of customers affected were targeted more than once, and 16% were hit more than five times.
The majority of attacks noted by Imperva targeted the application layer, making up 60% of all DDoS attacks. The remainder targeted the network layer. However, Imperva noted that the number of application layer attacks are trending downwards, dropping by 5% year over year. If that trend continues, network layer attacks could be just as common as application layer ones before too long.
The most recent quarter covered by this report shows a big jump in the size of network layer attacks. The biggest recorded attack was 470 Gbps, while many others exceeded 200 Gbps. Imperva now says attacks of this size are a “regular occurrence.”
These increases in DDoS attacks have been attributed to DDoS-for-hire services, where anyone can pay as little as $5 to launch a minute-long DDoS attack on a target of their choice. This means attacks can be launched by just about anyone—whether it’s because of a grudge against a particular company or just boredom.
These now account for 93% of DDoS attacks, up from 63.8% in Q2 2015. Imperva says this has directly led to the increase in overall DDoS numbers.
Another clue to an increase in DDoS-for-hire services and what Imperva calls “casual offenders” is a decrease in attack complexity. Starting in Q2 2015 the company recorded a decrease in multi-vector attacks; attacks using multiple vectors and payloads indicate a more sophisticated, complex attack. However, Q1 2016 saw an increase in the volume of assaults using five or more payloads.
“This countertrend reminds us that—in parallel with the increased “hobbyist” activity—more capable cyber-criminals continue to improve their methods. As per the first rule of the DDoS mitigation industry, attacks continue to get larger and more sophisticated on the high-end of the scale,” the report said.
The report also examined where DDoS attacks generally emerge from. Once again, China tops the list, with a sharp increase recorded in South Korea. The excellent broadband infrastructure in the country enables attacks to easily launch effective attacks, Imperva said.
The UK is now the world’s second most-attacked country, after the United States of America. Most attacks targeted small and medium businesses, but some bigger institutions, including the BBC and HSBC, were hit as well.