Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are getting bigger and more destructive, according to Neustar’s fourth annual Worldwide DDoS Attacks and Cyber Insights Research Report. The average attack size has doubled in the past year, reaching 50 gigabytes per second, and attacks now cost organisations an average of £1.9 million.
Of the 1,010 CISOs, CSOs, CTOs, security directors and managers, and other C-suite executives who responded to Neustar’s survey, over half (51%) said it took at least three hours to detect an attack.
DDoS attacks are “the zeitgeist of today’s Internet,” according to Neustar’s head of research and development, Barrett Lyon. “The question organisations must ask now is how they are prepared to manage these highly disruptive events. Are they prepared for the bad day where their customers call and ask why the website is down?”
Companies investing in defences
According to the report, 84% of respondents said their company was hit by a DDoS attack in the past year. Of those, the majority (86%) were hit more than once.
The pervasiveness of DDoS attacks has led to many organisations investing more heavily in defence mechanisms. Despite the fact that 99% of respondents claimed to have protections in place, over the years they have been unable to prevent – or even recognise – attacks. According to the report, 40% of respondents learned about attacks from their customers.
As such, almost all respondents (90%) said they are now investing more in defences than they did a year ago, with 36% saying they should be investing more heavily.
With an average revenue loss of at least £190,000 per hour, as reported by 43% of organisations, and £1.9 million in total, the extra expenditure would surely prove beneficial sooner rather than later.
Defending against DDoS attacks
It’s not always possible to defend against a large, organised DDoS attack, but there are things you can to do mitigate the effects of an attack. Some of these steps were outlined in an article last year by cyber security regulator Paul Ferrillo:
- Recognise the signs of a DDoS attack. The first, and best, defence against DDoS attacks is to be able to recognise them as early as possible. It may be hard at first to distinguish an attack from normal spikes in web traffic, so it’s worth investing in the right technology, expertise and training.
- Create an effective incident response plan. Knowing what to do when an attack happens will save a lot of time and make the response as effective as possible.
- Contact your Internet service provider (ISP). If your company is suffering from a DDoS attack, it’s likely affecting your ISP. They may be able to reroute your traffic in the event of an attack.
- Have your threat intel handy. Knowing what to look for is crucial. You should keep an eye out for the potential indicators of a compromise, what threat vectors are most popular, and how your peers are responding to attacks.
If you want more advice on the ways you can address your cyber security needs, you should download IT Governance’s free Cyber Testing Playbook. It’s full of helpful advice and is an ideal starting point to identify and address your security posture.