Small DDoS Attacks Shouldn’t Be Ignored

Organizations that continue to think of DDoS attacks as just large, long-drawn-out attacks are putting themselves at great risk. Over the past few years, Corero has observed that short sub-saturating DDoS attacks are dominating the threat landscape. In fact, Corero’s recent H1 DDoS Trends Report found that even though frequency of attacks has increased, the duration has decreased with 77% lasting ten minutes or less, of which 63% last five minutes or less.

Historically, such attacks were seen as little more than an annoyance, but with more and more companies evolving into online services, they are now having major consequences. Indeed, even a few minutes of downtime can prove extremely costly. For example, DDoS attacks could be causing new service issues or outages where customers can’t transfer money or make a purchase, and this can lead to significant financial damage. This July, Amazon’s website was unresponsive for an hour and the estimated cost in lost sales was around $75 million.

In addition to the financial impact, the aftermath of these attacks can leave a company scrambling to regain customer trust and rectify brand damage. For instance, if a problem goes on for five minutes or less, there's quite a good chance it will just fly by under the radar. Often someone might think it’s a glitch in the system and when everything is back to normal, they will just forget about it. Those quick little glitches or burps in the performance of systems shouldn’t be ignored as they can have a serious impact on customers’ perception of the organisation. Indeed, network and web services availability are crucial to ensuring customer satisfaction and sustaining customer trust and confidence in a brand. If an organisation’s website isn’t working properly or there is a delay in its performance, it immediately impacts brand prestige, as does a brand’s unwitting involvement in a security incident.

The motivations for DDoS attack campaigns are endless – financial, political, nation-state, extortion and everything in between. When it comes to smaller attacks, in particular, 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 didn’t successfully harness the required resources.

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 don’t have the right protection in place they could be unknowingly suffering service impact and minor outage without even realizing it due to the lack of visibility.

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 short period of time could have serious implications.

Contact us if you would like to learn more about the business impact that DDoS attacks that last 10 minutes or less have on your organization and how we can help prevent and mitigate DDoS attacks.