Small DDoS Attacks Should Not Be Ignored

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Organizations that continue to think of DDoS just in terms of large, long, drawn-out attacks are putting themselves at significant risk. Over the past few years, Corero has observed that short and sub-saturating DDoS attacks are dominating the threat landscape. In fact, Corero’s recent full-year 2020 DDoS Threat Intelligence Report found that the average attack duration has decreased with 86% of attacks lasting ten minutes or less.

Historically, such attacks were seen as little more than an annoyance, but with businesses increasingly evolving to offer online services, the risk from such attacks now has major consequences. Indeed, even a few minutes of downtime can now prove extremely costly. For example, DDoS attacks could be causing service issues or outages where customers cannot effectively run their own businesses, transfer money, or make purchases, and this can lead to significant financial damage.

In addition to the fiscal impact, the aftermath of these attacks can leave a company scrambling to regain customer trust and rectify brand damage. For instance, if a problem only persists for a few minutes, or less, there is a chance it will be missed or, at best, dismissed as ‘just a glitch in the system’ and once everything is back to normal, it is just forgotten about. Those quick little glitches or burps in the performance of systems should not be ignored, as they can have a serious impact on customers’ perception of the service and the organization providing it. Indeed, high levels of network and web services availability are crucial to ensuring satisfaction and sustaining customer trust and confidence in a brand. If an organization’s website, or service, is not working properly or there is a delay in its performance, it immediately impacts brand prestige.  Increasingly, this can be the result of a cyberattack, such as a DDoS, rather than a software bug, hardware glitch, or other IT issue.

The motivations for DDoS attack campaigns are endless – financial, political, nation-state, extortion, and everything in-between. When it comes to smaller attacks the motives could also vary. Some attacks might be small because the attackers only paid for a 10-minute attack from a DDoS-for-hire service. Others might be shorter and smaller because the malicious actor did not successfully harness the required resources, or they know that these types of attacks can make their impact before many protection solutions, such as on-demand cloud services, are able to react.

Regardless of the motivations behind DDoS attacks, or the techniques used by criminals, those threats remain one of the biggest challenges for online organizations nowadays. Most concerning is that, if organizations do not have the right protection in place, they could be unknowingly suffering service impact and minor outage, without even realizing it’s due to a lack of adequate protection.

DDoS attacks can target organizations of any size or industry, so businesses need to be prepared to defend against them. Today, it is seldom the case of ‘if a company will be hit by a DDoS attack’, but when. Even though, short DDoS attacks may seem harmless, it is precisely their size that makes them so dangerous. Therefore, organizations need to ensure they are putting the right protection in place, including real-time automatic DDoS protection, as even small attacks getting through for even a brief period could have serious implications.

For over a decade, Corero has been providing state-of-the-art, highly-effective, real-time automatic DDoS protection solutions for enterprise, hosting and service provider customers around the world. Our SmartWall® DDoS mitigation solutions protect on-premise, cloud, virtual and hybrid environments. For more on Corero’s flexible deployment models, click here.  If you’d like to learn more, please contact us.