Theft and DDoS Attacks Go Hand in Hand

Even if your organization has experienced a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack only once, there’s still reason to feel uneasy. There are two reasons: 1) you’ll likely be hit again and 2) it takes only one DDoS attack to impact your organization’s data security or intellectual property. Those are two of the key takeaways from a recent Neustar and Harris Interactive report based on a global, independent survey of 1,010 directors, managers, CISOs, CSOs, CTOs, and other C-suite executives. 76% reported that they had experienced multiple DDoS attacks. Even those companies that were attacked only once, a whopping 92% of them reported theft of intellectual property, customer data and/or financial assets and resources.

Think about that for a moment; 9 out of 10 companies who experienced a DDoS attack also had a significant data breach. Enterprises are often afraid that a DDoS attack will force their website to go offline, thus impacting customer service or sales. However, the Neustar research shows that they should be just as, if not more, concerned with data theft. The survey found that there were 2.2 breaches per attack incident. Think about the ramifications of data theft; how do you put a price on the value of your customer’s sensitive data, or your company’s intellectual property? The world has just learned about the massive Equifax data breach. What other companies will soon fall victim to a similar data heist?

It’s important to realize that such security breaches do not happen only in the event of a volumetric attack. Volumetric attacks that cripple a website can grab attention and damage a company or organization, but our research shows that hackers typically launch low-threshold, sub-saturating attacks. In most cases hackers are looking to steal something, so they use a small DDoS attack as a smokescreen to mask their more nefarious subterfuge. That’s why the vast majority of DDoS attacks are what we at Corero call “dark DDoS” attacks. Such attacks are sufficient to 1) knock down a firewall or 2) distract IT security staff. In either case, a low-threshold attack can open the door to data infiltration and theft. It takes only seconds for hackers to install malware, map a network’s vulnerabilities, or install ransomware.

Other noteworthy statistics from the Neustar report show that

  • 89% acknowledged some form of associated activity, including data theft, dangerous ransomware, and network compromise with DDoS attacks.
  • 36% saw malware activation during DDoS attacks as part of multi-tactic assaults.

The bottom line is, a DDoS attack often precedes a security breach, and DDoS attacks are usually difficult to detect through human intervention. Therefore, security systems should include an automated, real-time DDoS defense solution to detect and block even the smallest DDoS attacks.

Corero has been a leader in modern DDoS protection solutions for over a decade, to learn how you can protect your company, contact us.

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