Web infrastructure and security company Cloudflare recently released a report titled “DDoS Attack Trends for Q4 2021”. According to Cloudflare, 2021 has been a particularly bad year in terms of DDoS attacks.
Ransom distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks increased by more than 175 percent quarter-on-quarter, highlighting the massive scale of the problem described by Cloudflare.
In its quarterly report, Cloudflare details the attacks in late 2021 and provides a summary of what happened during the first half of the year. Looks like 2021 was a bad year when it comes to DDoS campaigns.
The first half of the year saw a massive ransomware attack affecting parts of critical infrastructure around the world, as well as vulnerabilities in IT management software. The vulnerability targeted the public sector, credit unions, schools and other essential services.
Things did not improve as the years passed. Cloudflare saw the rise of a new botnet called Meris during the second half of 2021. It appeared in mid-2021 and bombed organizations around the world, recording some of the largest HTTP attacks ever recorded. This includes a 17.2 million requests-per-second (RPS) attack that Cloudflare automatically intercepts.
The two final quarters of 2021 also saw the appearance of one of the most serious vulnerabilities ever recorded on the Internet. The Log4j2 vulnerability was discovered in December and proved to be very dangerous – it allows an attacker to execute code on a remote server without requiring physical access.
In the later part of the report, Cloudflare talks about the increasing trend of DDoS attacks which shows how much cybersecurity has increased in 2021. The numbers certainly prove a point: in the fourth quarter of 2021, ransom DDoS attacks increased by 29% year over year and 175% quarter over quarter. In the month of December, one out of every three survey respondents reported that they were the target of a ransom DDoS attack or had been threatened by an attacker.
Cloudflare also reported an increase in application-layer DDoS attacks, where the manufacturing industry was hit hardest during the last quarter of the year. Cloudflare has reported a tremendous increase in the number of attacks to 641% quarter on quarter. Apart from the construction sector, the attacks were mostly centered around the commercial services, gaming and gambling industries.
When it comes to network-layer DDoS campaigns, the latter part of 2021 was again the busiest, with December being the worst month ever. The combined attacks seen in the first and second quarters of 2021 were still lower than the attacks in December alone. November saw the rise of ransom campaigns against Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) providers.
Cloudflare says that most attacks were small, but as the years went by, their strength increased, resulting in dozens of attacks exceeding 1Tbps, which Cloudflare reduced, one of which was just under 2Tbps. Most of the attacks came from China, although the fourth quarter saw an increase in attacks in Moldova. Campaigns in that country quadrupled quarter on quarter.
As cybersecurity remains the target of attacks, it is more important than ever for businesses and individuals to stay secure and strengthen their systems. Cloudflare said it aims to make it easy and free for organizations of all sizes to stay protected from all types of DDoS attacks.