DDoS attacks dropped 29% Y-o-Y in Q1 2021: Report

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on May 24, 2021

43 per cent of all attacks in the quarter were reported in January

The number of DDoS (Distributed Denial-of-Service) attacks dropped by 29 per cent in Q1 2021 compared to the same period in 2020, but increased by 47 per cent compared to Q4 2020, 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.

Spike in January

According to the report, there was an increase in attacks in January – that month accounted for 43 per cent of all attacks in the quarter while the other two months remained quiet.

“At the beginning of 2021, many people were still working remotely and spending their leisure time at home. Therefore, cybercriminals conducted DDoS attacks against entities that users need more, for example, telecom providers, so that their clients experienced issues with their internet connection or online gaming sites,” explained Kaspersky.

However, overall the DDoS situation is becoming stable.

Also read: DDoS attacks cool off in Q4 as cyberattackers shift focus to cryptocurrency: Report

The drop in attacks as compared to last year is due to the increased DDoS activity in 2020 amid stay-at-home orders. “Because of a sudden shift to remote work, corporate VPN gateways and web resources, such as mail or corporate knowledge bases, which were previously available only inside an organisation, became a target for DDoS attacks,” it explained.

Businesses then moved to secure these parts of their IT infrastructure and implemented protective measures. Because of this, attacks against these web assets may have become less effective, and the number of DDoS attacks dropped. By February and March 2021, the number of attacks returned back to a pre-lockdown benchmark.

January 2021 witnessed a surge in attacks as per statistics from the Kaspersky DDoS Intelligence system, that intercepts and analyses commands received by bots from command and control servers. For instance, on January 10 and 11, the number of registered attacks exceeded 1,800, and for several days in the month, it reached more than 1,500.

“In general, the first quarter of 2021 was rather quiet, apart from a surge in DDoS activity in January. That surge might be caused by a fall in cryptocurrency prices that made some malefactors repurpose infected devices in botnets to send junk traffic instead of mining currency. So, despite an overall decline in Q1, we recommend protecting web resources from DDoS attacks. Because, as we can see, cybercriminals driven by financial motives can easily change their tactics depending on the circumstances,” said Alexey Kiselev, Business Development Manager on the Kaspersky DDoS Protection team.

‘Don’t relax security efforts’

Chris Connell, Managing Director, Kaspersky (APAC) remarks, “A reduction in the number of DDoS attacks is definitely good news for companies, however it shouldn’t mean that they can relax their security efforts. A DDoS attack is still a serious threat to businesses, especially in APAC, but an increase in corporate awareness coupled with internet security software enhancements can help reduce the sheer number of attacks.”

Connell further explained the financial risks of such attacks stating that the financial damage caused by DDoS attacks can be up to a staggering sum of $1.6 million (₹16 lakh) for businesses according to their research. “Money, time, clients and even reputation can be lost in the event of a DDoS attack. Depending on the severity of an attack, resources could be offline for 24 hours, multiple days or even a week, which makes it cardinal for companies to keep their guard up,” Connell said.

Published on May 24, 2021

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