The number of Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks increased by 10 per cent in Q4 2020 compared to Q4 2019, according to cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.

In DDoS attacks, the hackers attempt to deny access to the rightful customers, impacting transactions. They are meant to hinder a particular service for genuine users.

Hackers send a large number of requests to the target websites, far exceeding their capacity, impairing their ability to function normally.

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The number of DDoS attacks detected by Kaspersky DDoS Prevention increased slightly in Q4 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. However, compared to Q3 2020, these attacks decreased by 31 per cent.

“This drop can be connected to the growing interest in cryptocurrency mining,” Kaspersky said.

The boom in DDoS attacks had been brought about by people spending more time online amid the Covid-19-induced lockdown. Attacks on educational institutions and those related to online gaming increased.

However, the number of attacks decreased in Q4 compared to the previous quarter.

Experts suggest that this could be due to the increase in cryptocurrency costs, with attackers shifting focus on cryptocurrency.

According to Kaspersky Security Network statistics, “Throughout 2019, as well as in the beginning of 2020, the number of crypto miners was dropping. However, from August 2020 the trend changed, with the amount of this form of malware increasing slightly and reaching a plateau in Q4.”

“The DDoS attack market is currently affected by two opposite trends. On the one hand, people still highly rely on stable work of online resources, which can make DDoS attacks a common choice for malefactors,” Alexey Kiselev, Business Development Manager on the Kaspersky DDoS Protection team, said.

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“However, with a spike in cryptocurrency prices, it may be more profitable for them to infect some devices with miners. As a result, we see that the total number of DDoS attacks in Q4 remained quite stable. And we can predict that this trend will continue in 2021,” Kiselev added.