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DDoS Threat Report 2020 Q2

A shift in attack tactics by perpetrators in Q2 2020, saw a 570% increase in bit-and-piece attacks compared to the same period last year. Attackers adopted a more elaborate practise of bit-and-piece attacks to launch various amplification and UDP-based attacks to flood target networks with traffic, making detection and mitigation via traditional threshold-based methods all the more difficult for CSPs.

  • Bit-and-piece attacks are taken to a whole new level through blending multiple attacks: Smaller and more complex UDP-based and other amplification attacks were often used to maximize the impact of collateral damage on target networks. Bit-and-piece attacks result from injecting doses of junk traffic of negligible size into a large pool of IP addresses across hundreds of IP prefixes, which eventually paralyze the target when the junk traffic starts to accumulate from different IPs.
  • Harnessing power through blending multiple attack vectors: In the past, attackers have used bit-and-piece attacks with a single attack vector to launch new attacks based on that vector. However, in this quarter, Nexusguard reported a tendency to employ a blend of attack vectors to launch a wider range of UDP-based attacks, intended to increase the level of difficulty for CSPs to detect and differentiate between malicious and legitimate traffic.

There has been an obvious decrease in attack size, with perpetrators opting to employ small-sized attack traffic to attack more IP prefixes /24. This seriously undermines traditional threshold-based detection and mitigation, given that CSPs now need to detect and identify smaller and more complex attack traffic patterns amongst large volumes of legitimate traffic.

As can be seen in Figure, 51.57% of attacks were smaller than 30Mbps. In addition, 4,080 attacks were smaller than 5Mbps, 6,527 attacks were between 5Mbps and 10Mbps, and 9,637 attacks were between 10Mbps and 30Mbps.

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