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DDoS smokescreening on the rise

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A survey undertaken by Kaspersky Lab and B2B International has demonstrated that, in most cases, a DDoS attack is only the tip of the iceberg, with 74% of respondents from corporates reporting they coincided with other IT security incidents.
Sometimes these are not coincidences, but deliberate attempts to distract IT personnel with an approach that has come to be known as DDoS smokescreening.

In the survey, respondents most often cited malware (21%) and hacking (22%) as the number one threats to their companies, while DDoS was chosen as the most dangerous threat by only 6%. At the same time, DDoS attacks often coincide with malware incidents (in 45% of all cases), and corporate network intrusions (in 32% of all cases). Data leaks were also detected simultaneously with an attack in 26% of cases. Construction and engineering companies encountered this problem more often than others: according to respondents, and 89% of DDoS attacks on these companies coincided with other types of attacks.

However, even without taking collateral damage into account, DDoS attacks remain a serious problem that increasingly affect company resources. Specifically, in 24% of all cases, a DDoS attack caused services to be completely unavailable (39% for government-owned companies). In 34% of all cases, some transactions failed due to such attacks (64% for transport companies). Last year, these figures were significantly lower: only 13% of companies reported that their services had become completely unavailable due to DDoS attacks, while errors in transactions were experienced by 29% of companies as a result of such attacks.

Significantly longer page loading times remained one of the most common consequences of DDoS attacks (53% this year versus 52% last year); however, according to the survey, attacks can last for days or even weeks.

“It is natural that DDoS attacks are increasingly causing companies problems,” says Evgeny Vigovsky, head of Kaspersky DDoS Protection at Kaspersky Lab. “The methods and techniques used by criminals are evolving, with attackers looking for new ways of ‘freezing’ their victims’ operations or masking intrusion into their systems. Even with a large staff of IT professionals it is almost impossible for companies to handle a serious DDoS attack and recover their services on their own.
“Moreover, if other malicious activity is going on at the same time, this multiplies the damage,” Vigovsky adds. “The most dangerous part is that companies may never learn they were subjected to DDoS smokescreening.”