June 27, 2014, 11:15 AM

Denial-of-service attacks increase in Q1 2014

Akamai clients were targeted 283 times in the first quarter.

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Distributed-denial-of-service, or DDoS, attacks increased 36% in the first quarter of 2014 from the same period in 2013, but declined 18% from the fourth quarter of 2013, according to a survey of clients of Akamai Technologies Inc., a content delivery network and web security firm.

In its most recent “State of the Internet” report, the firm uncovered 283 DDoS attacks in the first quarter of 2014. Of those first quarter attacks, 27% targeted clients in the commerce industry, 28% in private sector, 20% in the public sector, 16% in the media and entertainment sector, and 9% in the high tech sector.

A DDoS attack occurs when malefactors attempt to knock a site offline by sending an overwhelming volume of traffic to it. It’s distributed because the attack traffic comes from many computers, often thousands, which criminals control through software they surreptitiously load onto consumers’ PCs.

The report says most of the attack traffic originated from the following countries in the first quarter:

• China, 41% of attack traffic, down from 43% in the first quarter of 2013

• United States, 11%, down from 19%

• Indonesia, 6.8%, up from 5.7%

• Taiwan, 3.4%, unchanged from 3.4%

• Brazil, 3.2%, up from 1.1%

• Russia, 2.9%, up from 1.5%

• India, 2.6%, up from 0.7%

• Turkey, 1.7%, up from 0.4%

• South Korea, 1.6%, up from 0.6%

• Romania, 1.6%, up from 0.6%

Going by region, 49% of attacks targeted companies in the Americas (up 3% from the previous quarter);  31% in Asia-Pacific (down 37%); and 20% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (up 50%). The surge in Europe comes from attacks “against large retail outlets in the United Kingdom, and against sites supporting the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia,” the report says.  

Akamai also says that of the 164 client organizations that suffered attacks in the first quarter, about 26%, or 43, of them were targeted for more than one attack. Five companies, or about 3% of the targeted organizations, suffered at least five attacks during the first quarter.

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