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DDoS attacks spike thanks to COVID-19 lockdowns, Kaspersky finds

DDoS attacks have tripled year-on-year in Q2 2020 when compared to Q2 2019, according to a new report from Kaspersky.

However, the figure is almost the same as the number of DDoS attacks in Q1 2020.

Kaspersky experts believe the rise in malicious activity can be attributed to the impact of COVID-19, as both cybercriminals and their targets have had to reconsider their holiday plans.

The number of attacks Kaspersky DDoS Protection detected and blocked in Q2 2020 is 217% higher than in the same period of 2019.

Furthermore, the number of attacks in Q2 2020 slightly increased in comparison to the first quarter of this year. These results contradict the annual trends that Kaspersky researchers usually find.

Normally, the number of DDoS attacks varies depending on the season, the experts state. The beginning of the year usually sees a higher amount of DDoS, as it is a peak season for business, and as time goes on the number of attacks begin to decrease.

For example, the number of attacks in Q2 2019 fell by 39% compared to figures for Q1 2019, and in 2018 the difference between the two quarters was 34%. The difference between Q1 and Q2 through 2018-2020.

This trend is reflected in the number of commands received by bots from C&C servers, which were intercepted and analysed by the Kaspersky DDoS Intelligence system.

Broadly, the average number of attacks registered daily in the second quarter increased by almost 30% compared to what happened in Q1.

Also, the biggest number of attacks per day was almost 300 in Q2 (registered on April 9), while in Q1 2020 the record was 242 attacks.

Kaspersky DDoS protection team business development manager Alexey Kiselev says, “This year, people have not been able to enjoy a normal holiday season as many regions have kept COVID-19 lockdown measures in place.

"This has left more people than usual still depending on online resources for both personal and work-related activities, making this summer a busy period for online businesses and information resources.

"As a result, we saw unprecedented activity in the DDoS market. And so far, there is no reason to predict a decline.”

To help organisations protect themselves from DDoS attacks during the vacation season, Kaspersky recommends the following.

Businesses should maintain web resources operations by assigning specialists who understand how to respond to DDoS attacks. These people must also be prepared to respond out-of-hours, during evenings and weekends, Kaspersky states.

Secondly, businesses should validate third-party agreements and contact information - including those made with internet service providers. This helps teams quickly access agreements in case of an attack.

Finally, organisations should be willing to implement professional solutions to safeguard operations from DDoS attacks. An example of this is Kaspersky DDoS Protection, which brings together expertise in combating cyberthreats and the company's in-house developments.