DDoS attacks were at their strongest in history in 2010

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks broke through the 100Gbps traffic barrier in 2010.

In a year where the DDoS became a by-word for a politically-motivated attack, Arbor Networks' sixth annual worldwide infrastructure security report said that the attacks became mainstream as many high profile attacks were launched against popular internet services and other well-known targets.

Roland Dobbins, solutions architect at Arbor Networks, told SC Magazine that Arbor was finding that the size of the largest packet DDoS increased dramatically year-on-year. He said that it was 49GB per second in last year's report and the likelihood is that it is now looking at attacks of 100GB per second.

“That is a 102 per cent year-on-year increase and in the time we have been doing these surveys, there has been an increase of 1,000 per cent in five years. Even with the largest firewall, it is easy for botnets to pass inspection so legitimate users cannot access services. It is a systematic failure. The internet infrastructure is getting fragile,” he said.

“We are seeing a significant increase in the number of respondents who say that they will see ten or more DDoS attacks a month, and nine times out of ten they target the end-user and not the service provider.”

Talking to SC Magazine, Luis Corrons, technical director at PandaLabs, was asked if the reason for this huge increase was because tools were more available? He said: “It is not because of the tools, they were already there but Anonymous got attention because of people and the media. The tools were there, they did not create it.

“It is more easy to do, we released a black market report and talking about different services they do not need to do anything. The tools are at every level of service and became more and more common and we see more cyber criminal activity.”

Also, the report claimed that application-layer DDoS attacks are increasing in sophistication and operational impact, as 77 per cent of its respondents detected application-layer attacks in 2010. These attacks target both customers and their own ancillary supporting services, such as domain name systems and web portals. Data centre operators and mobile/fixed wireless operators reported that application-layer DDoS attacks are leading to significant outages, increased operational expenditures, customer churn and revenue loss.

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