Intensity of DDoS Attacks on the Rise: Report

Dennis Faas's picture

The intensity of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks is on the rise, a new report suggests. According to Florida-based security firm Prolexic, such attacks have become eight times more potent in just the past quarter.

Prolexic says that the average attack bandwidth associated with DDoS attacks seen during the first quarter of 2013 was just over 48 gigabytes per second (Gbps). That's a huge increase from the last quarter of 2012, when average attack bandwidth was just 5.9 Gbps.

A DDoS attack involves flooding a website with bogus traffic to the point that the website's server can no longer handle page requests and is forced to shut down. It is a popular tactic with a number of hacker organizations, including 'hacktivist' group Anonymous.

Distributed Denial of Service Hackers Use Sophisticated Techniques

According to Prolexic, about one in four of the DDoS attacks it detected last month were relatively small, accounting for an average bandwidth under 1 Gbps. However, more than one in ten attacks involved an average bandwidth intensity of 60 Gbps, putting serious strain on servers.

The largest bandwidth attack Prolexic detected featured an average bandwidth of 130 Gbps. (Source:

Prolexic says that it's clear DDoS hackers are using more sophisticated techniques to attack their targets. As the intensity of attacks steadily increases, it becomes more and more difficult for equipment to handle the onslaught.

Although the intensity of distributed denial of service attacks has spiked in recent months, the number being launched hasn't significantly increased. In fact, the number of DDoS attacks detected in the first quarter of 2013 was just 1.75 per cent higher than the last quarter of 2012.

However, the number of DDoS attacks launched in Q1 2013 is more than twenty per cent higher than the number of attacks unleashed during the same period last year.

Also changing: the types of targets. "What defined this quarter was an increase in the targeting of Internet Service Provider (ISP) and carrier router infrastructures," Prolexic noted in a recent statement. (Source:

Almost Half of All DDoS Attacks Originate in China

The study found that almost 41 per cent of DDoS attacks originated in China, with just over 21 per cent of these attacks being initiated from U.S.-based locations. Germany (10.59 per cent) and Iran (5.51 per cent) round out the top four.

Prolexic also weighed in on a recent DDoS attack launched against anti-spam firm Spamhaus by Netherlands-based web hosting company Cyberbunker. According to Prolexic, initial reports that the attack's bandwidth intensity had peaked at 300 Gbps were overblown.

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