DDoS attacks saw a huge surge in the first part of 2024, with one particular country badly hit

DDoS attack
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Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks saw a significant increase during the first quarter of 2024, with one European country being particularly badly hit, new research has claimed.

The DDoS threat report for 2024 Q1 from Cloudflare found the company's automated defenses mitigated 4.5 million DDoS attacks in the first three months of the year, roughly a third of all attacks mitigated last year. Or, to put it in perspective - this is a 50% increase compared to the same period last year.

But not all DDoS attacks are the same. HTTP attacks, for example, almost doubled year-on-year (93%), and rose by half (51%) quarter-on-quarter. Network-layer DDoS attacks, also known as L3/4 DDoS attacks, increased by 28% YoY and 5% QoQ.

Growing in strength

In total, Cloudflare’s systems mitigated 10.5 trillion HTTP DDoS attack requests, or over 59 petabytes of DDoS attack traffic in Q1, just on the network-layer.

DDoS attacks have not just increased in number, they also increased in raw power. Many exceeded the 1 terabit per second rate, almost on a weekly basis. The largest attack Cloudflare mitigated so far was a variant of the Mirai botnet, which reached 2 Tbps and was aimed at an Asian hosting provider. 

The researchers also suggested that DDoS attacks remain a powerful weapon in politically-driven attacks, as the attacks on Sweden rose more than fourfold (466%) after the country got accepted into the NATO alliance. Cloudflare reminded that a similar thing happened to Finland after its accession last year. 

Distributed denial of service attacks work by having thousands of compromised devices send bogus internet traffic to a single location. That location is then unable to process legitimate requests and crashes. To mount such attacks, threat actors create botnets - networks of malware-laced devices such as routers, smart TVs, computers, and other hardware. The bigger the botnet, the bigger the DDoS attack.

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Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.