Why digital transformation could open you up to a DDoS attack

One hour of downtime from a DDoS attack costs an average of $221,837 globally, according to Netscout.

How to stem the rising tide of massive DDoS attacks ZDNet's Steve Ranger explains why DDoS attacks are increasing in frequency and power.

While many companies are in the midst of digital transformation efforts that will keep them competitive in the modern age, ,many of these strategies are under attack by cybercriminals, according to a Wednesday report from Netscout.

The past year saw a threefold increase in the number of DDoS attacks against Software as a Service (SaaS) providers, from 13% to 41%, the report found. There was also a threefold increase in the number of DDoS attacks against third-party data centers and cloud services, from 11% to 34%.

Attackers also targeted encrypted traffic, as 94% of organizations observed these attacks—nearly twice as many as the year before, according to the report. DDoS attacks on cloud-based services increased as well, from 25% in 2016 to 47% in 2018.

SEE: Incident response policy (Tech Pro Research)

While DDoS has been a cybercrime tool for many years, they are growing in number due to the combination of increasingly sophisticated for-hire attack services, and free attack tools that help anyone with even basic hacking skills to launch an attack, the report noted.

The size of these attacks has also evolved: In 2018, the largest attack reached 1.7Tbps, making it the biggest in history.

"In 2018, enterprise respondents continued to wrestle with challenges such as ransomware, insider threats, and DDoS attacks, all while struggling to simplify operations. At the same time, attackers increasingly targeted important components of digital transformation initiatives, such as SaaS and cloud services," the report stated. "As companies place growing importance on doing business in a connected world, it's not surprising to see that attackers have followed."

The costs of DDoS attacks

DDoS attacks can have a major impact on enterprises, the report found. Some 91% of those who experienced such an attack indicated that one or more attack completely saturated their internet bandwidth. Attacks on firewalls and IPS devices also doubled last year, from 16% to 31%, according to the report.

In 2018, the average global cost of one hour of downtime associated with internet service outages caused by DDoS attacks was nearly $221,837, the report found. These costs were highest in Germany, at $351,995, and lowest in Japan, at $123,026.

To learn more about how to avoid DDoS attacks, check out this article on our sister site ZDNet.

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Image: iStockphoto/zefart

By Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.