A number of high-profile distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks have taken place over the past few days, and it is expected that more will occur as we draw closer to the holidays. The attacks began early last week when a hacker who is associated with Anonymous orchestrated a DDoS attack against the websites for the Supreme Court of Canada and the Ottawa Police Forces. The DDoS attack was preceded by a hack against the City of Ottawa, during which the attacker replaced the website’s homepage with an image of a dancing banana.
According to the hacker who has claimed responsibility for the attacks, the DDoS campaign was meant to respond to the arrest of a teen that had allegedly made more than 30 emergency 9-1-1 calls across North America. The hacker believes the teen was framed and is trying to help him clear his name. Following a busy Thanksgiving weekend, which included the Sony breach, Cyber Monday saw a DDoS attack against DNSimple, a domain management provider. The attack, which lasted approximately 12 hours, sustained traffic of up to 25Gbps and about 50 million packets per second sent to DNSimple’s servers.
Finally, a DDoS attack launched on Tuesday by Lizard Squad, a group well known for this type of attack, succeeded in bringing down the servers at Blizzard Entertainment, a gaming enterprise known for the popular World of Warcraft computer game franchise. Just a day earlier, Lizard Squad had succeeded in using a DDoS campaign to bring down Xbox Live, much to the frustration of shoppers who had purchased the gaming console on Cyber Monday.
The attacks on the Canadian government websites, DNSimple, and Blizzard Entertainment suggest that high-volume DDoS attacks are on the rise. In fact, Verisign, a Virginia-based security firm, has been tracking this trend throughout the third quarter. Over the course of its investigation, it has noted an increase of as much as 60 percent quarter-on-quarter in 2014 for some companies. Researchers at Verisign recommend that companies invest in advanced DDoS protection solutions. This is especially true as we approach the holidays, for this type of attack spikes around this time of year. And with Lizard Squad preparing for additional DDoS attacks, their advice could not be more perfectly timed.
It looks like it’s going to be a busy holiday season.