DDoS attackers set their sights on SMBs


Arbor Networks claims it's not just household names that are at risk from Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, as hackers are turning their attention to smaller, lesser-known targets.

Despite news of DDoS attacks on government sites and big brands regularly hitting the headlines, the vendor warns that smaller firms are also finding themselves regularly under siege from hackers.

Speaking to IT Pro, Darren Anstee, solutions architect for EMEA at Arbor Networks, explained: "Historically, a lot of attacks were against major brands, governments and banks and that has continued with the rise of ideological hacktivism.

"What's really changed, though, is who is being targeted. That has really broadened. The scope has moved down from these big brands to the SMB space."

Companies are being attacked because of who they do business with or sell services to, and also for competitive reasons, he said.

"DDoS has become far more mainstream. People can download the tools, do it themselves or hire a botnet," said Anstee. "In many cases, you only pay on result. If you want a company taken offline, it is very easy to do."

As a result, he said firms are becoming increasingly savvy about what they have to do to protect themselves against hackers.

Companies are being attacked because of who they do business with and also for competitive reasons

"You hope that's because they've done risk analysis and seen articles in the press [about DDoS attacks], but the real reason is because they've been targeted," he said.

"Protecting their service availability is becoming more important, because so many businesses are reliant on their internet presence to make money or raise awareness of what they do."

Looking ahead, Anstee said attacks against IPv6 networks are likely to increase, as World IPv6 Dayapproaches and more carriers switch on their services.

"[Last year] was the first time we saw attacks against IPv6 networks [in Arbor's own research] and, while the attacks were not that big, we think they will increase," he warned.

"That will change once the carriers start pushing IPv6 to their subscribers. That is when we will see attacks against IPv6 take off," he concluded.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.