According to a recent survey performed by Incapsula, the hefty price tag accompanied by distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks is now estimated to cost organizations $40,000 per hour, with nearly half of attacks lasting between 6-24 hours. Thus, companies are shelling out close to half a million dollars, on average, to quickly restore their services.
In addition, the survey revealed the majority of organizations (87 percent) also incurred non-financial costs, such as loss of customer trust, loss of intellectual property or malware infections.
The survey data includes the responses of 270 North American companies of all sizes, ranging from as few as 250 employees to 10,000 or more. The survey pool also consisted of organizations across a variety of industry sectors.
“Current DDoS trends make it clear that yesterday’s strategy is no longer defensible,” read Incapsula’s report. “Large-scale volumetric attacks are growing in size, requiring increased network capacity in order to keep up.”
“In addition, new and more sophisticated DDoS varieties are emerging, requiring organizations to be highly flexible and ready for anything that might come their way,” warns the report.
Almost half of survey respondents (45 percent) disclosed their organizations had been hit by attackers at one point, while almost all (91 percent) reported the attack had occurred within the last 12 months. Even more alarming, more than two-thirds of these companies were targeted two or more times.
The survey also highlights that although organizations of all sizes experience DDoS assaults, the incidents are most frequently seen impacting larger entities. “Those having 500 or more employees are most likely to experience a DDoS assault, incur higher attack costs and require more employees to combat the threat,” reported Incapsula.
However, even smaller organizations are not safe from this ‘tried and true’ approach often used by cybercriminals. As Tripwire Security Researcher Ken Westin explains, “DDoS attacks are a common tactic used by attackers as a smoke screen for a targeted intrusion.”
“It distracts the IT and incident response teams, floods systems with error messages and causes general chaos, allowing attackers to more easily exploit vulnerabilities, traverse the network and escalate privileges without detection,” said Westin.
Even the most prepared organizations can experience difficulties restoring services; however, the survey data revealed there are no predictable patterns as to how long an assault may last. While the majority (86 percent) reported an average of 24 hours or less, companies also experienced incidents lasting several days or even more than one week.
Additional key findings from the survey revealed:
- 46% of organizations received a ransom note from DDoS perpetrators
- 52% of incidents resulted in the replacement of hardware or software
- 43% experienced loss of consumer trust
- 33% acknowledged customer data theft
One of the most recent targets of these attacks includes the widely-used hosting and cloud provider Fasthosts, whose customers “experienced a loss of DNS performance, and as a result, periods of website downtime” on Monday, reported The Register.
Additionally, the video game developer Blizzard was hit with a massive DDoS attack at the time of its newest World of Warcraft launch last week, causing latency, disconnects and log-in problems for players.
“In information security, we commonly say it is not a matter of if you will be breached, but when,” adds Westin. “To add to that, it is also a factor of how organizations respond to the compromise and their ability to limit the damage—be it downtime, data theft or other activities the attackers may be attempting.”