Gaming companies hit the hardest by DDoS attacks in Q4 2014: Akamai

Gaming firms experienced 35.33 per cent of all distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks during Q4 of 2014

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks were heavily targeted at the gaming and software/technology industries during Q4 of 2014 as cyber criminals sought to disrupt services, according to a new report by Akamai.

The Q4 2014 State of the Internet – Security Report found that the gaming industry experienced 35.33 per cent of all DDoS attacks while software and technology companies were targeted in 26.58 per cent of attacks.

“In Q4, attacks were fuelled by malicious actors seeking to gain media attention or notoriety from peer groups, damage reputations and cause disruptions in gaming services,” read the report.

Console gaming networks including Microsoft Xbox Live and Sony PlayStation Network were extensively attacked in December 2014, when more players were likely to be gaming, the report said.

Hacker group Lizard Squad claimed responsibility for the DDoS attacks and later took aim at anonymous network Tor.

The software and technology industry includes companies that provide solutions such as software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud-based technologies. This industry saw the sharpest climb in attack rates, up from 7 per cent in Q3 of 2014 to 26 per cent during Q4.

Other industries that were targeted included media and entertainment companies (10.01 per cent) and Internet and telecom (10.93 per cent).

The report found there was a 57 per cent increase in the number of DDoS attacks compared to Q3 of 2014.

Akamai also reported a 52 per cent increase in average peak bandwidth of DDoS attacks compared to Q4, 2013.

“Large packets of unwanted network traffic can quickly sap an enterprise's ability to respond to legitimate customers, resulting in denial of service outages,” said Akamai's cloud security business unit vice president, John Summers, in a statement.

“Most unprotected websites cannot withstand a typical DDoS attack. As a result, DDoS attacks have become part of the common cyber security threatscape that all enterprises with an online presence must anticipate in a risk assessment.”

During Q4, the majority of DDoS attack traffic came from the United States (31.54 per cent), China (17.61 per cent) and Western Europe countries such as Germany (12 per cent) and France (7.64 per cent).

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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