DDoS attacks hit a sad all-time high in the last quarter of 2021. According to Kaspersky telemetry, The number of attacks in Q4 increased by 52% against the previous quarter and more than 4.5 times against the same period last year. The numbers look scary, but instead of rushing to conclusions, better to figure out why they are so.
This is 4,5 times higher than the same period last year. Kaspersky experts see the reasons, among other things, in the Christmas sales season and the increasing popularity of cryptocurrencies
Extremely high number of DDoS attacks
In a DDoS attack, cybercriminals send a large number of requests to the targeted web resource with the aim of restricting its service or temporarily paralyzing it. The attacks can last for several days and lead to massive disruptions in companies.
From October to the end of December 2021, Kaspersky researchers observed a massive increase in DDoS attacks, recording a record high in the entire history of the international cybersecurity company’s observation of this type of threat. The Kaspersky experts see a combination of several factors here: Usually, the last three months of a year are most frequently affected by DDoS attacks, online trade peaks due to sales around the holidays and the exam season for students begins. Cyber criminals use this for their purposes, which leads to increased DDoS attacks.
Furthermore, Kaspersky experts saw an inverse proportionality between DDoS attacks and the cryptocurrency market. This is due to the fact that the capacities for organizing DDoS and mining cryptocurrencies are interchangeable – botnet owners tend to divert energy to mining when cryptocurrency is rising and to DDoS when it is falling.
Germany is one of the most popular targets for attacks worldwide
Most DDoS attacks took place in the United States (43,55 percent), China (9,96 percent), Hong Kong (8,80 percent), Germany (4,85 percent) and France (3,75 percent). In Germany, DDoS attacks increased by 4 percent in Q2021 25 compared to the previous quarter, in Austria by 86 percent and in Switzerland by 48 percent.
“The DDoS threat landscape is constantly changing, reflecting current economic and societal trends,” comments Alexander Gutnikov, Security Expert at Kaspersky. “We expected an increase in DDoS attacks in the fourth quarter due to the selling season, but the unstable situation in the cryptocurrency market has pushed the DDoS landscape to a whole other level with an all-time high in the number of attacks. Based on the trends of the past few years, the first quarter of 2022 should not show a significant decrease in DDoS attacks. We therefore strongly advise implementing professional solutions to protect companies from DDoS attacks.”
Tips from Kaserpersky for businesses to protect against DDoS attacks
- Keep web resources running by employing specialists who know how to respond to DDoS attacks.
- Regularly validate agreements with third parties and contact information, including those with and from internet service providers. This helps teams quickly access agreements in the event of an attack.
- Implement a professional solution like Kaspersky DDoS Protection  to protect against DDoS attacks
- Comprehensive knowledge of your own data traffic is essential. The use of network and application monitoring tools can help to identify trends and tendencies in data traffic. By understanding an organization’s typical traffic patterns and characteristics, a baseline can be established to help identify unusual activity that may indicate a DDoS attack.
- Have a restrictive plan B ready for defense. This allows organizations to quickly restore business-critical services in the event of a DDoS attack.
On the one hand, Q4 met our expectations for this period; on the other, it surprised us. For example, instead of the expected increase in DDoS activity during major online sales, we saw a botnet lull. A feature of the quarter was the large number of very short DDoS attacks, as well as a slew of media reports about short but powerful attacks.
Now for our forecasts. Going by previous years’ trends, we expect Q1 2022 to produce roughly the same indicators as Q4 2021. But the situation in the world and, in particular, the cryptocurrency market is too volatile to make such a confident prediction. The bitcoin price has fallen to half its peak value, but remains high. It suffered a similar collapse in the middle of last year, but after that grew even stronger. If cryptocurrencies shoot up again, we could see a significant drop in the DDoS attack market, but if they sink even further, we will probably see an increase. It is impossible to predict which way it will go. But despite the lack of concrete information, we see no preconditions for any major fluctuations, and expect figures similar to those in Q4.