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92 percent of organizations attacked with DDoS just once suffer theft: Survey

Multiple Banks and Telecoms in Hungary Affected in a DDoS Attack

Neustar, Inc., a provider of real-time information services, recently released its bi-annual Global DDoS Attacks and Cyber Security Insights Report, affirming DDoS attacks continue to be an effective means to distract and confuse security teams while inflicting serious damage on organizations. The report highlights that organizations experienced a 27 percent increase in the number of breaches per DDoS attack, despite suffering similar attack levels in the same period last year.

Data from the report shows attackers are achieving higher levels of success against organizations they only hit once: 52 percent of organizations reported a virus associated with a DDOS attack, 35 percent reported malware, 21 percent reported ransomware and 18 percent reported lost customer data. Over a twelve-month period, 75 percent of respondents recorded multiple DDoS attack attempts following an initial assault on their organization’s network. The resulting breach ratio increases as the number of DDoS attacks increases, but the net result is it only takes one attack to breach an organization’s defences. Findings suggest that cybercriminals are focused on taunting defences, probing network vulnerabilities and executing more targeted strikes, instead of making noise with a singular, large attack.

“Not only are hackers becoming craftier and more dangerous, but they’re also becoming more opportunistic,” said Nicolai Bezsonoff, Vice President, Neustar Security Solutions. “The importance of always-on vigilance and investment in DDoS security technology is essential for organizations looking to adapt and evolve their defences. Protecting an organization’s infrastructure and customer data against threats is paramount in the current digital landscape.”

Key findings from the report include:

Organizations have a lot to lose – even if attacked only once

  1. 92 percent of those attacked just once reported theft of intellectual property, customer data and/or financial assets and resources
  2. 89 percent acknowledged some form of associated activity, including data theft, dangerous ransomware, and network compromise with DDoS attacks
  3. 36 percent saw malware activation during DDoS attacks as part of multi-tactic assaults

Internet of Things (IoT) devices remain a tempting target for DDoS attacks

  1. 76 percent of organizations that have IoT devices in active operation were attacked
  2. Of those 76 percent, nearly one-third suffered network compromises or damage to physical equipment
  3. 40 percent of respondents are actively focused on finding ways to prevent IoT devices from becoming compromised

Attacks and breach activities were not contained to large organizations

  1. Over 50 percent of mid-sized organizations encountered an average of three breach incidents (malware, ransomware, virus, etc.)
  2. Mid-sized organizations were hit the hardest with 60 percent experiencing an attack
  3. On average, DDoS attacks caused organizations $4.3M in revenue generation risk

Organizations are continuing to make DDoS protection a budget priority, with layered defences and web application firewalls (WAFs) listed as a top investment. Respondents noted that on average their organizations have at least two components of DDoS protection that can include appliance hardware, cloud services, and hybrid deployments. Notably, protection against application layer threats has increased significantly with Web Application Firewall (WAF) solution deployments nearly tripling in the past year. Using WAF to protect the most exploited layer in the network stack reflects organizations drive for the right combination of defences to protect against growing concerns associated with DDoS attacks.

Top motivators for increased budget spend on DDoS protection include:

  • Preserving customer confidence and brand reputation
  • Prevention of associated attacks, including ransomware
  • Proactively strengthen existing protection

“Organizations need to continuously diversify their security strategy for DDoS – it’s no longer ‘good enough’ to accept a pre-packaged solution as the cornerstone of your security portfolio,” said Barrett Lyon, Vice President of Research and Development, Neustar Security Solutions. “Writing application code is difficult, but it is also fraught with security failings and attacker know this. Organizations are making investments in layered protection, including the deployments of WAF solutions, to level the playing field and decrease the time cybercriminals will have to execute a successful attack.”