Bitcoin Exchanges and Online Casinos among the Most Common Targets of DDoS Attacks

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A new security report published by Imperva shows a concerning trend of Bitcoin businesses and gambling sites becoming  one of the most common targets of DDoS attacks (Distributed Denial of Service) in 2017.  With the price of Bitcoin rapidly climbing and the online gaming industry in full bloom, security threats have increased in number during the third quarter of the year – a trend that is likely to continue as both sectors expand and grow over the global online sphere.

Bitcoin Industry – the 8th Most Targeted Sector

The report, dubbed Global DDoS Threat LandScape Q3 2017, was recently released by Imperva – a Californian company that provides cyber security services and consulting on a global scale. The report outlines the main sectors DDoS attacks were focused on during the third quarter of the year and shows that exchanges, where users go to buy Bitcoins ,were one of the most common targets.

Namely, according to the report, the percentage of Bitcoin sites that experienced a DDoS attack in some form or another was approximately 74% during Q3 of 2017. This makes Bitcoin one of the most commonly targeted industries during the said period, although the percentage of DDoS attacks it attracts in the overall online sphere is still relatively small.

With a footprint of 3.6%, the Bitcoin industry is a much smaller target group than the retail sector which drew 5.8% of all DDoS attacks.  However, since the retail industry stats were taken from all e-commerce sites found online,  which are much greater in number than Bitcoin exchanges (less than 70 online), the Bitcoin sector earned the 8th spot among  the 10 most targeted industries.

A DDoS attack is a cyber attack that aims to disrupt or prevent a service by bombarding a site with traffic from many different sources at once. The huge spike in traffic “floods” the site of the victim, causing the site to crash or the service to become unavailable to users. Many DDoS attacks in the past have been launched to extort ransoms from victims or just harm a more successful competitor’s site.

According to Imperva’s report, 53.3% of the attacks were a single-case scenario, while a high 30.8% of the targets suffered between 2-5 attacks. Of all targets, 10.5% even suffered more than 10 attacks during the quarter, while the average number of attacks launched on each target was 17.7%.

Gambling Sites Remain the Most Popular Target

Imperva’s report shows that online gambling sites are still the most popular target of DDoS attacks, accounting for 34.5% of targets and earning the number one spot. The gaming industry comes close by, representing 14.4% of targets, and so do internet service providers, which represented 10.8% of all targets.

Attacks on gambling operators have put the Philippines and Taiwan at the top of the list of the most attacked countries, thanks to a concentrated effort against operators targeting the Asian markets during the period. The report also describes attacks of gambling sites as “common”, citing “extortion attempts” and targeting from rival companies as the main reasons for such attacks. Attacks on the gaming industry, on the other hand, reportedly typically derive from attackers who want to “influence a game’s outcome” or ones that just want to “vent their frustrations”.

December 13, 2017: • No Comments

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