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Global rise in DDoS attacks threatens digital infrastructure

Posted By

Help Net Security

On

December 20, 2023

In 2022, the total number of DDoS attacks worldwide increased by 115.1% over the amount observed in 2021, according to Nexusguard.

The data also showed that cyber attackers continued to alter their threat vectors by targeting the application platforms, online databases, and cloud-based storage systems within ISPs.

This resulted in a significantly greater impact globally as organizations continue to move more of their workloads to the cloud.

Number of DDoS attacks worldwide

While the overall number of DDoS attacks did more than double, the maximum size of 361.9 gigabits per second (Gbps) represented a 48.2% decrease over those measured in 2021. Average attack size also shrank by 22.4%.

The majority of DDoS threats (85.6%) in 2022 were single-vector attacks, which is almost identical to the percentage seen in 2021. UDP- (user datagram protocol) based and TCP- (transmission control protocol) based attacks were the most popular attacks by type, accounting for 72.5% and 23.0% respectively. Other key findings include:

   - The top three DDoS attack vectors were NTP (network time protocol) amplification, memcached, and UDP attacks.
   - UDP-based attacks increased 121.3% year-over-year (YoY). TCP based and other attacks also grew significantly.
   - Amplification attacks grew by 414.6% YoY.
   - Application attacks saw enormous growth, increasing by 718.1% YoY.

AI-powered DDoS attack vectors

IoTs can be helpful for users and prevent DDoS attacks. However, this is only sometimes the case for IoT devices. They have large attack surfaces and often overlook security principles in their designs. Some widgets have let attackers log in. Users may need help changing their IDs sometimes.

As the world celebrated the rise of ChatGPT and other artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities, hacker equality continued to invest in the same functionality. Hackers, along with global organizations, recruit AI and ML engineers. Often hackers and international organizations are competitors for the same talent pool.

Global organizations recognize the value of AI and the ability to process and rationalize data. Hackers see the value of processing past or present DDoS attack forensics and leverage AI and ML to predict a successful future attack.

“Although DDoS attack size dropped in 2022, we saw a significant jump in the overall number of attacks, making the need for greater awareness and vigilance more essential today,” said Juniman Kasman, CTO of Nexusguard.

“Cyber attackers also continue to target critical infrastructure within ASN-level Communications Service Providers (CSPs), especially ISPs, which results in an incredibly far-reaching effect as the organizations relying on those providers are also negatively impacted,” concluded Kasman.