Home Security DDoS attackers turn their attacks back on security researchers

DDoS attackers turn their attacks back on security researchers

An attack research group was the number 1 target of DDoS in the first three months of this year, according to a new report by a US-based global security company, with a warning that the researchers and their related groups are fast becoming “high-valued” targets for digital criminals.

According to Nexusguard, Q1 2016 this year also saw a sharp increase in attacks in the Middle East region during the quarter.

Nexusguard says the increase in attacks against researchers contributed to the spike in popularity of network time protocol (NTP)-style attacks, taking back the No1 spot from domain name system (DNS) vulnerabilities.  

Some victims received NTP attacks almost daily with security analysts also finding that most attacks lasted under 10 minutes, and had a mean time of five minutes.

Nexusguard says the decrease in duration could be related to the continued rise in popularity of DDoS-for-hire services, which have led to shorter attack times.

As a result, Nexusguard analysts recommend organisations implement monitoring systems that can detect events on a second- or sub-second interval.

Terrence Gareau, chief scientist at Nexusguard, warns that researchers and their related groups are becoming “high-valued targets for digital criminals. We have seen this in the past, but never as a primary target for a whole quarter, making the findings in this quarterly report all the more important".

"We also found that the rise in DDoS-for-hire services is drastically changing the threat landscape, and organisations need to ensure their networks can handle new attack breeds."

The United States and China lead Nexusguard’s top 10 list of targets by country in a return to the first and second positions – suffering more than 49,000 combined attacks over the quarter.

Turkey fell out of the rankings, which reinforces Nexusguard's previous speculation that the peak of these attacks in Q4 2015 was related to tensions between Russia and Turkey that occurred at the time.

Additionally, Middle Eastern countries saw an 83% increase in the number of attacks in Q1, and researchers predict there will be more attacks against countries in the region as tensions continue to rise.

To read the full Nexusguard Q1 2016 threat report, click here.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).