Denial of Service Attacks Surge

Lurking in the shadows for nearly a decade, denial of service (DoS) and distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are resurging, according to research from IDC. These attacks render servers and/or network resources unavailable by overwhelming them with traffic.

There was a sharp increase in the frequency, bandwidth volume and applications orientation of these attacks in 2012, with leading financial firms and other industries experiencing high-profile assaults. This reflects an evolution in the motivation behind these attacks, from hacktivism to financial gain to disguising more targeted attacks that exploit the weaknesses and vulnerabilities of some of the world’s largest and most powerful organizations.

“As these attacks surged in prevalence and sophistication, organizations were often caught unaware. Embedded capabilities were quickly overwhelmed and outages were readily apparent on the web. This is driving the need for proactive solutions to protect customers’ infrastructure from current and future attacks,” said Christian A. Christiansen, Vice President, Security Products & Services research at IDC.

Volumetric attacks are expected remain the predominant type of DDoS attacks through 2017. These simple yet devastating attacks are exceedingly effective due to the relative ease with which botnets can send a bandwidth flood that can cripple most enterprise infrastructures. Firewalls, intrusion protection and other devices may mitigate very low-level attacks, but large volumetric attacks can easily overwhelm their capabilities. What’s more, the security devices can become the attackers’ unwilling allies because they are unable to separate legitimate from illegitimate traffic.

“With the number of high-profile attacks steadily increasing, the market for DDoS prevention solutions will surge,” said John Grady, Research Manager for IDC’s Security Products program. “A defense-in-depth posture with a combination of on-premises equipment and cloud-based mitigation provides the best protection against advanced application and SSL-based attacks as well as large-scale volumetric attacks.”

Although volumetric-based attacks will remain the most popular, IDC expects growth in more advanced hybrid attacks that include application layer and encrypted traffic. Expansion of cloud services and mobile networks creates additional targets for DDoS attacks.

As a result of these trends, IDC forecasts the worldwide market for DDoS prevention solutions to grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.2 percent from 2012 through 2017 and reach $870 million. Providers of anti-DDoS products and services are expected to continue to expand partnering relationships to address the evolving nature of attacks.