DDoS Attacks Double In A Year As Akamai Warns Of Future IPv6 Threat

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Akamai says attackers are changing tactics with DDoS now lasting longer but using less bandwidth

A record number of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks were carried out during the first quarter of 2015, research has found.

A new report from Akamai found that the number of DDoS attacks doubled in the past year, increasing by more than a third from the last quarter alone. The typical attack now uses less bandwidth but lasts longer with the average attack duration increasing by 42.8 percent to 24.82 hours, typically using 10Gbps.

Despite this, there were eight “mega attacks” exceeding 100Gbps, with the largest recorded at 170Gbps.

Rise of SSDP

ddos-attackThe company also highlighted the increasing use of the Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP)  to stage such attacks and the growing threat of IPv6 methods.

A fifth made use of SSDP, a common protocol enabled by default on millions of home and office devices, such as routers, smart TVs, printers and webcams, to allow them to discover each other.

However if SSDP is left unsecured or misconfigured, such devices can act as “reflectors” to enhance the ferocity of DDoS attacks. SSDP exploitation is also having a knock-on effect on the power of ‘DDoS for hire’ vectors, which had peaked at 10-20Gbps, but are now capable of delivering 100Gbps and above.

The gaming industry was the most targeted, accounting for 35 percent of all DDoS, ahead of the tech sector which was targeted by a quarter. In terms of web application attacks, the retail sector was hit hardest, followed by media and entertainment.

Two thirds of web application attacks used the local file inclusion (LFI) vector, mainly due a massive campaign against two large retailers in March which exploited the WordPress RevSlider plugin, while 29 percent used a SQL injection (SQLi) attack. Researchers are concerned that SQLi attacks have the ability to move beyond more data theft, warning they have the potential to elevate privileges, execute commands and corrupt data.

Akamai has also warned more needs to be done to protect businsses against IPv6 attacks as the transition from IPv4 continues. It says that IPv6 DDoS are not yet common, but such methods are being tested, putting cloud providers and corporate networks at risks.

Many IPv4 DDoS methods can be used to stage IPv6 campaigns, while some IPv6-specific methods can even bypass IPv4 protections, potentially creating more powerful attacks.

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