Minor Outages Do Matter

It’s a common misconception that distributed denial of service (DDoS) is all about the very large attacks. The highest volume attacks certainly make all the headlines, but they are actually a tiny minority of the overall DDoS threat. The fact is that small DDoS attacks are an everyday occurrence for many organizations. Corero research indicates a significantly growing number of short-duration, low-volume attacks affecting organizations’ networks.

Smaller DDoS attacks can be just as sinister as the highest-volume ones, for three reasons:

  • They consume resources, which impacts the overall experience for end-users
  • They consume IT security staff time for troubleshooting
  • They can serve as a vector in sophisticated cyber-crime reconnaissance activities

The impact of smaller attacks

How do smaller attacks cause damage? They can overwhelm infrastructure and security devices, and chip away at host resources, thus denying end-users access to Internet-facing applications. Web-site, application and service availability are crucial to ensuring customer satisfaction and sustaining customer trust and confidence in a brand. Even a few minutes of downtime or latency can hurt a company’s bottom line, erode customer confidence, and tarnish overall reputation.

Attackers favor small DDoS attacks because they require much less effort, use fewer resources, and can often escape the radar of legacy, detect and redirect, and homegrown DDoS mitigation tools, which struggle to distinguish them from regular traffic. Such attacks can also enable attackers to survey and ‘pressure test’ a network for its vulnerabilities, so that the next time they launch an attack they can capitalize on that insight and perfect their techniques to wreak greater damage.

Organizations' awareness of DDoS attacks

Organizations should be wary of being quick to claim that their business systems have not been affected by a DDoS attack, because this is extremely difficult to ascertain, unless they have the visibility and mitigation provided by granular, real-time DDoS protection systems. Organizations that don’t have the right protection in place could unknowingly suffer service impact, as well as outages that they might attribute to other IT issues, due to the lack of visibility. No website or online application is immune to DDoS, and any size DDoS attack is cause for concern.

Corero provides best-in-class, innovative DDoS protection solutions for customers across the globe; to learn how you can protect your organization from the DDoS threat, contact us.

Sean Newman is VP Product Management, responsible for Corero’s product strategy. Sean brings over 25 years of experience in the security and networking industry, to guide Corero’s growing leadership in the real-time DDoS protection market. Prior to joining Corero, Sean’s previous roles include network security Global Product Manager for Cisco, who he joined as part of their acquisition of cyber-security vendor Sourcefire, where he was Security Evangelist and Field Product Manager for EMEA. Prior to that he was Senior Product Manager for endpoint and network security vendor Sophos, after having spent more than 12 years as an Engineer, Engineering Manager and then Senior Product Manager for network infrastructure manufacturer 3Com.