Info-tech

DDoS attacks surge on educational, civic bodies websites

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on May 09, 2020 Published on May 09, 2020

As people confine themselves to their homes in the lockdown, hackers have increased focus on the targets that they can profit on.

Cyber security experts have found that DDoS (Distributed Denial of Services) attacks on educational and civic body websites have gone up significantly in the first quarter. Such attacks result in denial of services to the genuine users.

By launching DDoS attacks, the hackers send a large number of requests to the target websites, far exceeding their capacity, impairing ability to function normally.

The overall number of attacks grew during the first three months of the year, with a significant spike in attacks on municipal and educational sites.

The hackers have realised that the people have begun to rely on the digital gadgets to get connected to the world as they can’t move out due to lockdown restructions. A large number of educational institutions, including universities, have opened online windows to reach out to their students.

“This can be due to the fact that DDoS actors are taking advantage of the current situation when people are locked down in their homes and are heavily reliant on digital resources,” Alexey Kiselev, Business Development Manager on the Kaspersky DDoS Protection team, has said.

“The increased demand in online resources during the lockdown was noted by cyber attackers, who conducted attacks on the most vital digital services or those that are growing in popularity,” he said.

Kaspersky’s first quarter report on DDoS attacks cited the examples of attacks on the US Government's Department of Health and Human Services, on a group of hospitals in Paris, and on servers of an online game in February and March.

The quarterly report said that the number of attacks on educational sites and websites of civic bodies went up by three times. The share of such attacks amounted to 19 per cent of the total number of incidents in the quarter.

New trend

The experts see a new trend in DDoS attacks. “Previously most attacks were conducted against the public-facing resources of companies. We now see that DDoS attacks target internal infrastructure elements, for example, corporate VPN (virtual private networks) or email servers,” Alexey Kiselev said.

Cyber security experts ask the service providers not to panic when they see spikes in the traffic on their sites.

“Unexpected traffic peaks may look like a DDoS attack, but these instances can be caused by legitimate users. They can visit resources which were not as popular before,” he said.

He asked the service providers to conduct a fault tolerance analysis of their infrastructure to identify weak nodes and increase their reliability.

Published on May 09, 2020

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