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Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks rose 30 percentage points in Q3 2019 as compared to the previous quarter, and also rose 32 percentage points when compared to the same quarter last year, a new report found.

The rise in 2019 Q3 DDoS attacks was caused by a large number of rather simple types of attacks, said researchers in the Kaspersky DDoS Protection report.

In previous quarters this year, total growth stemmed from a surge in the number of smart attacks focusing on the application layer, usually carried out by skilled cybercriminals. In Q3 2019, the share of ‘smart’ attacks dropped to 28 percent from 50 percent in Q2 2019, and grew by only seven percentage points when compared to Q3 2018 results.

This drastic change can be attributed to a surge of DDoS activity at the beginning of the academic year. While the early summer months were relatively inactive, the majority of DDoS attacks (53 percent) was detected in September. Kaspersky statistics show 60 percent of the attacks prevented during this month were conducted against schools and electronic journal sites. With this in mind, Kaspersky experts suggest these attacks were carried out by school-age cyber attackers who do not have a deep understanding of how to properly organize DDoS campaigns.

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The average duration of smart attacks has not changed substantially compared to numbers from Q2 2019, but it has almost doubled when compared to Q3 2018. Additionally, the average duration of all attacks fell slightly, which is likely due to a large number of shorter attacks in this quarter.

Changes in the number and statistical distribution of DDoS attacks in Q3 2019 compared to Q2 2019 and Q3 2018.
Source: Kaspersky

“Despite this spell of seasonal activity from young hooligans who appear to celebrate the beginning of the school year with a spike in DDoS attacks, the more professional market of DDoS attacks is rather stable,” said Alexey Kiselev, business development manager on the Kaspersky DDoS Protection team. “We have not seen an explosive increase in the number of smart attacks compared with the previous quarter and the average length of attack remains the same. However, this still causes serious damage to business. Our survey of IT decision makers revealed that DDoS attacks are the second most expensive type of cyber-incident that led to date breaches for SMBs, with the average cost of a breach estimated at $138,000.”

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