Unless the prices of cryptocurrencies collapse, crypto exchanges and sites will remain among the prime targets of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, said a report of the leading developer of computer security solutions Kaspersky Lab.
According to the analysis of the DDoS attacks in the last quarter of 2017, the period was dominated by three main trends: politically motivated attacks, attempts to cash in on the soaring price of Bitcoin, and tougher law enforcement.
The soaring prices and peaking popularity of cryptocurrencies led to an increase of hacker attempts on the crypto exchanges. “No sooner had Bitcoin spawned a new kind of cryptocurrency in the shape of Bitcoin Gold (BTG) than BTG sites immediately came under DDoS fire”, the report said. “After the price of the cryptocurrency took off in November, DDoS attacks rained down on the Bitfinex exchange — apparently with the aim of profiting from Bitcoin price fluctuations caused by denial of service. Still punch-drunk from the November attack, Bitfinex was paralyzed by two more onslaughts in early December.”
The Kaspersky Lab report found that in Q4 were attacked sites and services in 84 countries. China was still the most frequent target of DDoS attacks (59%), followed by the USA, South Korea and UK. The longest DDoS attack of Q4 2017 lasted 146 hours (just over six days).
The main goal of a DDoS attack is to make a website or other internet service unavailable to its intended users. It is launched by a botnet, consisting of thousands of infected computers and servers, which simultaneously send millions of access requests to the target, thus “clogging” the normal data flow and disrupting the normal operation of the website or the internet service. DDoS attacks are often targeting sites and services of high-profile institutions such as banks, credit card payment gateways, rendering them useless for hours or even months.