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UK companies experiencing more and longer DDoS attacks

Out-Law News | 09 May 2014 | 9:53 am | 1 min. read

UK businesses are experiencing more frequent and extensive 'distributed denial of service' (DDoS) attacks than ever before, according to new research.

DDoS attacks typically involve hackers using malware-infected computers to bombard systems with such large amounts of traffic that they cease to function. Analysts Neustar surveyed 331 UK businesses that operate in industries such as financial services, technology, retail and telecoms, and found that 21% view DDoS attacks as posing a greater threat now than they did in 2012, with 70% of the view that the threat level is the same.

Nearly a third (30%) of the businesses surveyed said that they experienced a DDoS attack against them last year, up from 22% that reported being the victim of such attacks in 2012. Almost seven in ten (69%) of the businesses attacked said they were victim to more than one DDoS attack last year. Nearly a third (28%) of all attacks last between one and two days long,

Neustar said that DDoS attacks are often used as a 'smokescreen' for other types of cyber attacks. It said 42% of UK companies that experienced a DDoS attack in 2013 also had intellectual property, customer data or funds stolen from them.

"While IT and security teams are fully distracted by a DDoS attack, criminals grab and clone private data to siphon off funds, intellectual property and more," it said. "In one case, crooks used DDoS to help steal bank customers’ credentials and drain $9 million from ATMs in just 48 hours. Such incidents have caused the US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) to warn about DDoS as 'a diversionary tactic'."