In H1 2021, cyber criminals targeted businesses in record numbers as they continued to exploit vulnerabilities caused by the pandemic
A report published by Link11, Europe’s leading IT security provider in cyber resilience, suggests there has been a 33% increase in the number of DDoS attacks in H1 2021.
Between January and June, the Link11 Security Operations Centre (LSOC) recorded record numbers of attacks compared to the same period last year. The report also found that between Q1 2021 and Q2 2021 there was a 19% increase in DDoS campaigns, some of which were over 100 Gbps in attack volume; further evidence that cyber criminals are continuing to exploit the vulnerabilities of businesses during the pandemic.
The key findings from the report are:
- The number of attacks continued to rise: + 33% increase year-on-year compared to H1/2020.
- DDoS attacks are increasing: +19% in Q2 2021 compared to Q1 2021.
- Overall attack bandwidth remained high: 555 Gbps in maximum attack volume.
- Sharp increase in attack bandwidth: +37% increase in H1/2021 compared to H1/2020.
- Number of high-volume attacks > 100 Gbps in H1/2021: 28
Criminals targeted those organisations and institutions that were in high demand during the global pandemic, such as vaccination websites, e-learning platforms or portals and businesses IT infrastructure as well as hosting providers and internet service providers.
LSOC also suggests that the use of extortion emails has reached critical levels. Employees have received malicious emails from a multitude of different senders including Fancy Bear, Lazarus Group and most recently Fancy Lazarus. Instead of being indiscriminate, ransom demands now vary depending on the size of the company and the industry of the victims. In fact, companies from a wide range of industries (including finance, e-commerce, media and logistics) are currently being affected. The frequency of these campaigns has increased, ransom demands have skyrocketed and LSOC is warning that they could continue well into Q3 2021.
According to Link11’s security experts, the intensity and regularity of extortion emails has noticeably increased. The scale of DDoS activity far exceeds any from previous years and the number of businesses experiencing serious security breaches has risen sharply. The consequences of such an attack can be severe, from loss of revenue, costly business interruptions, long recovery times to sensitive data being compromised.
Marc Wilczek, Managing Director of Link11, said: “In an increasingly connected world, the availability and integrity of IT systems are critical to any business. Our research for the first half of 2021 shows that companies are continuously exposed to DDoS attacks and that they are far more frequent and complex. Due to the increasingly sophisticated attack techniques being used by cyber criminals, many security tools are reaching their limits. This means that solutions which provide maximum precision and speed in detecting and mitigating the attacks are more in demand than ever before.”
Although the threat level of DDoS attacks has remained high and security providers have provided persistent warnings, LSOC believes some companies are still lack the relevant security solutions to prevent an attack. In a number of cases, organisations have been found to be completely unprotected and operations have been brought to a standstill. The only way to limit the damage is to implement specialised protection solutions on an ad-hoc basis. From an economic and legal point of view, however, it makes more sense to focus on sustainable prevention rather than reaction.
As threat levels continue to rise LSOC recommends businesses take this opportunity to conduct a thorough review of their cyber security posture. They are also warning if you fall victim to a DDoS attack do not respond to extortion attempts and call in a specialist for DDoS protection as soon as an attack has been detected.