Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks could cause severe damage to organizations’ critical systems. The number of DDoS attacks on global organizations has increased as cybercriminal groups leverage various DDOS techniques to compromise targeted sources. A recent analysis from Atlas VPN revealed that cybercriminals launched nearly 5.4 million DDoS attacks in the first half of 2021, an 11% increase compared to the first half of 2020. Out of these, attackers leveraged compromised computer systems and botnet networks in 2.8 million of the attacks.
In a DDoS attack, threat actors try to make a targeted system or service unavailable to its users by flooding it with unwanted incoming traffic from different sources. DDoS attackers infect targeted devices/websites/services and turn them into bots, which no longer accept requests from legitimate visitors as it gets unnecessary traffic from fraudulent requests.
DDoS Attacks in H1 of 2021
- The first month of this year saw the most significant number (972,000) of DDoS attacks. In February, attacks dropped by a little over 5% to 921,000 and rose again by 5% in March to 968,000.
- In April, DDoS attacks dropped by 9% to 882,000 and further decreased in May by 5% to 842,000 attacks. In June, the DDoS attacks reached the lowest point in H1 2021, dropping 10% to 759,000.
- Nearly 41,000 DDoS attacks in H1 2021 were aimed at commercial VPNs, resulting in collateral damage affecting many entities.
DDoS Attacks Across Regions
While the number of DDoS attacks across the globe increased exponentially, the report stated that countries in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) sustained the most DDoS attacks in the first half of this year. Nearly 2 million DDoS attacks were aimed at organizations in these regions, with an average duration of 47 minutes per attack. The world’s biggest DDoS attack of H1 2021 was directed at Russian search engine provider Yandex. The attack was implemented via a new botnet tracked as Meris.
North America and the Asia-Pacific regions received nearly 1.3 million and 1.2 million DDoS attacks, respectively. The average duration of a DDoS attack aimed at North America was only 40 minutes, the shortest out of all the regions, while DDoS attacks targeting Asia-Pacific were on average 62 minutes long. Latin America was targeted the least out of all the regions across the world. The country encountered 555,039 most extended DDoS attacks in H1 2021 — an average of 63 minutes.
DDoS Turning to RDDoS
Several threat actor groups found shifting to ransom distributed denial of service (RDDoS) attacks to launch extortion schemes on targeted organizations. As per a survey, over 44% of businesses sustained an RDDoS attack in the past 12 months. Nearly 70% of organizations were targeted with RDDoS attacks, and 36% agreed to pay the ransom. In an RDDoS attack, cybercriminals either launch a DDoS attack and then demand ransom to stop, or they may ask for the ransom first by threatening with a DDoS attack if not paid.