A new report on the state of the Internet suggests that the last quarter of 2015 was a busy one for distributed denial-of-service attackers, particularly those originating from China.
DDoS attacks increased 40 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 for Akamai customers, according to the report, which was published by Akamai and released on the first day of the RSA security conference in San Francisco. Compared to Akamai’s 2014 fourth-quarter data, the number of DDoS attacks doubled, with the most attacks — 28 percent — originating from China.
DDoS attacks involve multiple systems — many or all of which could be hijacked machines — which target a single system, such as a website, application or server.
Akamai’s data comes directly from its customers, including those in the U.S. government, which has been a target for repeated DDoS attacks.
According to Akamai executives, repeated attacks are emblematic of the report, with each customer facing an average of 24 targeted attacks in the fourth quarter of 2015. One customer, which Akamai did not name, was hit with DDoS attacks 188 times.
Such attacks could be lengthy and sustained, with one “multivector” attack highlighted in the report directing some 309 gigabytes per second and 202 million packets per second of traffic toward a victim over eight days. Akamai revealed only that the customer was in the software and technology industry.
“The threat from DDoS and Web application attacks isn’t going away,” Stuart Scholly, senior vice president and general manager of Akamai’s Security Business Unit, said in a statement. “Each quarter, the number of attacks against Akamai customers continues to surge. And malicious actors aren’t backing down. They’re hammering away at the same targets over and over again, looking for a moment when defenses may be down.”