Why You Should Be Worried About DDoS Attacks
In a world that has gone digital, cybersecurity threats are something we should not take lightly. Most businesses and organizations have at least a portion of their operations online — be it through a website or an internal server. That makes them vulnerable to a variety of cyberattacks and hacker…
In a world that has gone digital, cybersecurity threats are something we should not take lightly. Most businesses and organizations have at least a portion of their operations online — be it through a website or an internal server. That makes them vulnerable to a variety of cyberattacks and hacker activity. However, there is one type of attack that has been steadily evolving over the years and is now posing an extremely serious threat. We are talking about DDoS attacks — one of the favourite weapons in any hacker’s arsenal.
DDoS attacks are relatively easy to execute and quite efficient at taking down websites and servers. Hackers use them for blackmail, shutting down businesses, or as cover for data theft. Due to recent technological advancements, DDoS attacks are now more frequent and more efficient than ever. Unfortunately, experts predict that DDoS attacks will only grow in volume and become more dangerous in the years to come.
In this article, we will take a close look at what DDoS attacks are and how they are executed. We will also give you an overview of the current state and future of DDoS attacks.
DDoS Attacks Explained
So, what is a DDoS attack? Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks attempt to overload a server by flooding it with fake requests. Hackers usually use networks of hijacked devices (also known as botnets) to generate large amounts of false traffic to the target. The server tries to process each and every request sent to it but ends up being overwhelmed by the sheer amount of traffic. As a result, it becomes unable to process actual requests and effectively shuts down.
DDoS attacks can cripple the operations of a business and severely affect its bottom line. Even large corporations like Google and Amazon have become victims of such attacks and have not emerged unscathed. For the first half of 2020, nearly 5 million DDoS attacks occurred, targeting both small and large organizations. The truth is that DDoS attacks have evolved faster than the means of detecting, preventing, and mitigating them. Let’s take a look at why DDoS attacks are the major problem they are today.
How DDoS Attacks Are Evolving
Ever since their first emergence in the late 90s’, DDoS attacks have become more sophisticated and harder to counter. The implementation of global networks and the steady increase in bandwidth and connection speed only serves to help DDoS attacks be easier to execute and more devastating. Nowadays, we are more interconnected than ever, which is why thousands of DDoS attacks happen on a daily basis.
One of the main culprits behind the rise of DDoS attacks in recent years is the IoT (Internet of Things). IoT devices generally have poor security and are usually not regulated by any governing authorities whatsoever. That makes them the perfect target for hackers who want to build massive botnets to use for their DDoS activity. While several years ago hackers were able to generate mere gigabytes of fake traffic, modern IoT botnets allow them to generate terabytes.
As we already mentioned, the overall development of server infrastructure and network capacities accidentally makes DDoS attacks much more effective. While networks such as 5G come with many benefits, they also serve as the perfect tool for DDoS hackers. Since 5G has extremely low latency and high bandwidth, they allow for gigantic volumes of fake traffic.
The Future of DDoS Attacks
Even though DDoS attacks are more massive and damaging than ever before, hackers have not stopped trying to make them an even bigger threat. Experts predict that such activity will increase exponentially in the years to come. Also, DDoS attacks are expected to become even more complex and tough to deal with efficiently. The unregulated proliferation of IoT devices and the lack of advancements in their security will only serve to help hackers create gigantic botnets. When you combine that with the mass implementation of 5G worldwide, it provides the perfect environment for DDoS attacks.
Another issue is the rapid digitization of businesses and organizations from all industries and walks of life. While it has been ongoing for decades, the COVID-19 pandemic has sped up the process considerably. The vast majority of organizations now have online assets or portions of their offering. This alone makes them perfect targets for DDoS attacks for a variety of reasons. Given the fact that this digitization is likely to continue in the future, hackers will have more potential targets to hit.
DDoS attacks have been a huge issue for both large and small organisations for the past 20 years. However, their current scale has the capacity to be an existential threat to a business. When it comes to DDoS defenses, modern cybersecurity solutions do not provide sufficient protection. Hackers are now utilizing cloud technologies to execute their DDoS attacks, while companies are struggling to implement adequate defenses. Overall, hackers always seem to be one step in terms of technology and tactics.
As we already outlined, DDoS attacks are expected to become more frequent and more dangerous in the years to come. Unless the IoT industry takes active steps to improve the security of their devices, hackers will continue to establish massive botnets. Also, security solutions need to catch up in terms of cloud functionality so that DDoS attacks can be detected and mitigated. Until that time comes, however, we should all take whatever measures we can to protect our online assets from such malicious activity.