Nearly half of companies have been hit with a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack in the past year.
According to a BT survey, four out of ten organisations (41 percent)
globally suffered a DDoS attack over the past year, with more than
three quarters of those (78 percent) targeted twice or more.
A DDoS attack attempts to overload a company system — such as a web
server — by sending so many communications requests that legitimate
traffic cannot get through. It's the digital equivalent of jamming a
postbox full of leaflets so that real letters can't get through.
The 'distributed' refers to the army of PCs — acting without their
owners' knowledge, usually thanks to a virus infection — that are used
to deliver the attacks. Banks, retailers and online gambling companies
are among the most commonly targeted firms — organisations that face
significant loss of business if their websites cannot respond to
Sometimes a DDoS attack is just cover for a bigger crime. For
example, it was recently revealed that organised crime groups can use a
DDoS attack against a bank to divert the attention of the bank's
security team while the criminals plunder accounts using stolen credentials.
According to the BT-commissioned research, which covered 11
countries, DDoS attacks are seen as a key concern by a third of UK
organisations (36 percent), although they seem to worry less than their
international rivals: globally, almost twice as many organisations (58
percent) named DDoS as a key concern.
Perhaps that's because about half of UK organisations (49 percent)
have a response plan in place, even though just one in 10 UK decision
makers interviewed said they strongly believed they have sufficient
resources in place to counteract an attack.
Respondents said that customer complaints and queries jumped by an
average of 36 percent following an attack. On average, organisations
take 12 hours to fully recover from an especially powerful attack, while
in the UK more than half of IT decision makers (58 percent) said DDoS
attacks had brought down their systems for more than six hours.