IT disaster recovery, cloud computing and information security news

IT security professionals predict that DDoS attacks will get larger and more significant in the year ahead, and are already preparing for attacks that could cause outages worldwide, according to new research from Corero Network Security.

Many in the industry expect to see a significant escalation of DDoS attacks during the year ahead, with some (38 percent) predicting that there could even be worldwide Internet outages during 2017. But reassuringly, the vast majority of security teams (70 percent) are already taking steps to stay ahead of these threats, such as putting business continuity measures in place to allow their organizations to continue operating in the event of worldwide attacks.

Despite continued discussions about nation state attackers, security professionals believe that criminal extortionists are the most likely group to inflict a DDoS attack against their organizations, with 38 percent expecting attacks to be financially motivated. By contrast, just 11 percent believe that hostile nations would be behind a DDoS attack against their organization.

This financial motivation explains why almost half of those surveyed (46 percent) expect to be targeted by a DDoS-related ransom demand over the next 12 months. Worryingly, 62 percent believe it is likely or possible that their leadership team would pay.

“Despite continued advice that victims should not pay a ransom, a worrying number of security professionals seem to believe that their leadership teams would still consider making a payment in the event of an attack,” said Ashley Stephenson, CEO of Corero Network Security. Corporations need to be proactive and invest in their cyber security defences against DDoS and Ransomware to protect themselves against such extortion.”

Hidden attacks

While high-bandwidth DDoS attacks continue to dominate the headlines, security professionals are also worried about the smaller, low-volume DDoS attacks of less than 30 minutes in duration. These ‘Trojan Horse’ DDoS attacks typically go un-mitigated by most legacy DDoS mitigation solutions but are frequently used by hackers as a distraction mechanism for additional attacks.

According to the survey results, less than a third (30 percent) of IT security teams have enough visibility into their networks to mitigate attacks of less than 30 minutes. A much larger volume of respondents (63 percent) are also worried about the hidden effects of these attacks on their networks, such as undetected data theft – particularly with the GDPR deadline fast-approaching, where organizations could be fined up to 4 percent of global turnover in the event of a data breach.

The Tide is turning against ISPs

Continued discussions related to the role ISPs play in DDoS mitigation, have led nearly three-quarters of respondents (73 percent) to expect regulatory pressure to be applied against ISPs who are perceived to be not protecting their customers against DDoS threats. But interestingly, only a quarter of those surveyed (25 percent) believe their ISP is to blame for not mitigating DDoS attacks. Most of those surveyed (60 percent) consider their own security teams to be responsible.

The survey polled around 100 security professionals at the Infosecurity Europe conference in London.

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