Bitcoin isn’t the only technological advance setting records in 2017.
While this has been a record year for cryptocurrency, there’s also been an unprecedented number of Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS, attacks. Although digital currencies grab most of the news headlines it’s DDoS and related cybercrime attacks that should really concern businesses.
A DDoS attack typically involves two main parties: the cracker and a reflector. The cracker, or cybercriminal, initiating the attack uses an army of computers, known as zombies, to overwhelm a website or server with requests. The overwhelmed reflector cannot process all the requests and either slows to a crawl or shuts down completely.
In the past, system administrators facing a DDoS attack had two basic options: limit traffic, usually allowing good and bad traffic on the site while filtering out good and bad traffic or determine the origin of the attack and filter out the bad traffic. Since most attackers disguise the address of their zombie computers it’s difficult for either method to be effective.
The more effective a DDoS solution, the more it costs. Even the most sophisticated solutions have been breached in recent years. The list of companies who’ve been compromised by attacks reads like a Fortune 500 list, including elite technology companies like Microsoft, Amazon, eBay and CNN.
According to a new report from Kaspersky Lab, 33% of organizations faced DDoS attacks in 2017, compared to just 16% in the year prior. But it’s not just Fortune 500 enterprises on cybercriminals hit list. According to the report 20% of the attacks were on small businesses, 33% on SMBs, and 41% on enterprises.
It’s not just the frequency of such attacks that should worry business owners. In recent years, attacks have increased in number, severity, and duration. “It used to be that attackers would see that a site or network was protected and move on. Now, they hammer away at the target hoping that the defences might drop.” said ZDNet Network Analyst, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols.
Securelist recently reported that for just $50 on the black market, anyone can order up a DDoS attack. Many cybercriminals on the dark web even offer bonuses and customer loyalty programs for repeat purchases. The more sophisticated cybercrime operations will even display live analytics dashboards that rival professional IT firms.
Example statistics provided by DDoS attack service
The brazen nature of once clandestine cybercriminal operations is representative of a larger technology trend–Cybercrime is moving into the mainstream. Some industry experts estimate as many as 50% of websites in 2018 will face a DDoS attack. So what can companies do to prevent attacks that are easy to order, expensive to defend, and, thanks to cryptocurrency, nearly impossible to track?
Ironically, the answer lies in the blockchain, the same technology that allows many of these dark web criminals to move untraceable funds instantly.
Blockchain-based startups like Gladius are using peer-to-peer distributed networks to help prevent DDoS attacks. The new service will allow users to rent out their extra bandwidth as a Gladius node in exchange for cryptocurrency. The result is a secure, distributed network capable of fending off DDoS attacks and delivering content faster than ever before. The company has already raised more than $7 million for their DDoS prevention and CDN service in the presale stage which continues until the end of December.
For many, the idea of renting out unused bandwidth for profit seems like a win-win. The utilization of bandwidth is something that has never been done before. Skeptics, however, remain critical of ICOs, pointing to scamcoins like Confido that have raised thousands of dollars only disappear after a successful coin offering.
What do you think? Would you put your unused bandwidth to work for you, or are you waiting until 2018 to jump on the ICO bandwagon?