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More than half of businesses fell victim to DDoS attacks in the past year, survey shows

CDNetworks research shows 54% of businesses were hit by distributed denial of service attacks in the last year, and many feel they are underinvesting in cyber defences

More than half of businesses (54%) have been victims of successful distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks over the past 12 months, according to research from cloud security firm CDNetworks.

The company surveyed 305 organisations in the UK, Germany, Austria and Switzerland about the technologies that protect them from cyber attacks.

Some 83% of the respondents felt either confident or very confident about their cyber defences, but 44% felt they were currently underinvesting in anti-DDoS technologies.

Chris Townsley, Emea director for CDNetworks, told Computer Weekly that this mix of opinions was strange. “Not only is there widespread complacency – the overwhelming confidence in DDoS protection, undermined by the high proportion of businesses suffering successful attacks – but there is also a significant number of businesses that are worried that they have not invested enough,” he said. “It is odd to see so much confidence alongside such doubt about whether enough is being done.”

The survey also found that 64% of organisations said they would be investing more in such technology over the next year, and in terms of expectation of an attack, 79% rated the likelihood of an attack as between “likely” and “almost certain”. This attitude is reflected in the frequency of incidents, with 86% saying they had suffered a DDoS attack in the previous 12 months.

The size of attacks is also growing. In the first half of 2015, the largest DDoS attack recorded was 21Gbps, but during the equivalent period in 2016, it was 58.8Gbps. Also, 31% of attacks in the first half of 2016 were 50Gbps or more, but there were no attacks of that size in the first half of 2015.

Townsley added: “As the size of attacks increases, businesses need to look more at protection from the edge and not at the origin or datacentre.

“As the size of traffic increases, so does the likelihood that the bandwidth of the origin server will be saturated, no matter what protection is in place to keep it up and functioning.

“Also, with the frequency of attacks increasing, businesses should move to a mindset of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ an attack will occur.”  

When asked whether the number of successful attacks was due to businesses buying the wrong security products, Townsley said: “It could be that the type of protection was not suitable, or was suitable for some types of attack but not all. As the types of attack are changing all the time, products can become obsolete.”

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