The Dawn of the DDoS of Things (DoT)

By Dr. Chase Cunningham, Director of Cyber Operations, A10

Dr. Chase Cunningham, Director of Cyber Operations, A10

Last year saw an unprecedented uptick in the volume, size and scope of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. Led mostly by the Mirai malware, this drumfire of DDoS attacks took advantage of unsecured Internet of Things (IoT) devices to build massive botnets and launch mammoth DDoS attacks, the likes of which the industry had never seen. For the first time, DDoS attacks exceeded the 1 Tbps threshold.

And Mirai is still making waves

In his keynote presentation at RSA Conference 2017, Intel Security Senior Vice President and General Manager Christopher Young warned that Mirai is thriving.

"The DDoS of Things is powering bigger, smarter, and more devastating multi-vector attacks than ever imagined"

“We can’t think of the Mirai botnet in the past tense. It’s alive and well today, and recruiting new players,” he said. Researchers suggested Mirai was just the beginning. Making public the code needed to launch an IoT-powered botnet was a first salvo. A rival botnet malware, Leet,quickly followed on the heels of Mirai and used SYN payloads different than Mirai. And in 2017, there’s sure to be another chapter in this saga.

Welcome to the DDoS of Things

This is the era of the DDoS of Things (DoT), where bad actors use IoT devices to build botnets, which fuel colossal DDoS attacks. The DoT is reaching critical mass— recent attacks have leveraged hundreds of thousands of IoT devices to attack everything from large service providers and enterprises to gaming services, media, and entertainment companies.

And it’s estimated that there will be 24 billion connected IoT devices by 2020.

As an attack method, it’s now even easier for attackers to commandeer IoT devices for nefarious purposes. Many devices still use unsecure default credentials and are ripe for the picking. Basic instructions are available online and the lucrative DDoS-for-hire market is expanding.

The DDoS of Things is powering bigger, smarter, and more devastating multi-vector attacks than ever imagined.

This increased activity has lead Deloitte Global to predict that attacks reaching or exceeding 1 Tbps or more will be commonplace in 2017. Deloitte posits that there will be an average of one 1 Tbps attack or larger per month this year, as the total number of DDoS attacks surpasses 10 million globally.

Need more proof? This DDoS of Things infographic has numbers that are as startling as they are informative. For example, there are roughly 3,700 DDoS attacks per day, and the cost to an organization can range anywhere from $14,000 to $2.35 million per incident. And once a business is attacked, there’s an 82 percent change they’ll be attacked again. Is your business prepared to battle the influx of IoT-driven DDoS attacks?



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