NexusGuard’s “DDoS Statistical Report 2021” revealed that, despite the decline in DDoS attacks from 2020-2021, attacks continue to exceed those before the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the DDoS protection company, the total number has fallen by 13.3% between 2020-2021.
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The average attack size decreased over 2021. However, the maximum attack size rose to 699.2 Gbps. This is a 297% increase in the same time period. From the beginning to the end of last year, the average attack size was 0.76 Gbps. This is a 50% decrease.
DDoS attacks by the numbers
- According to NexusGuard, these were the three most prevalent attack vectors in the past year.
- UDP attacks (39.06%)
- DNS amplification attacks (10.4%)
- TCP acknowledgement attacks (9.7%).
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Volumetric and direct flood attacks were the most common methods, accounting for 79% of all attacks in 2021. UDP-based attacks and TCP-based attacks were the most common, at 69.5% & 20.5%, respectively.
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Juniman Kasman is chief technology officer at Nexusguard. “While the average size and number of DDoS attacks has fallen in 2021 over 2020,” he said. TCP ACK can significantly increase the impact of a DDoS event that has a low traffic level. However, UDP attacks remain the most prevalent. Organizations must be ready to handle a variety of vectors. DDoS is a persistent and elevated threat.
Strangely, the most DDoS attacks in March over the past five years has been on a consistent basis. This may be because cybercriminals are returning to work after the winter holidays. Another trend was that attacks in the months of June and July signaled the end DDoS attack season. Attacks began to decline starting in September, and continuing through the rest of the year, before peaking again in March.
The majority (80.8%) DDoS attacks were shorter than 90 minutes. The number of lengthy attacks increased in 2021. 6.8% of attacks lasted over 1,200 minutes. 2021 saw an average attack time of 92.39 minutes. The longest attack lasted 15,408 minutes or more than 10 days.
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NexusGuard highlighted bit-and-piece attacks as part of its study. These types of attacks are described by NexusGuard as “drip-feeding small amounts of junk traffic into large IP pools”. This allows hackers to avoid detection by targeting autonomous system number (ASN), communication service providers worldwide. However, it is large enough that the target will be clogged when all the IPs are combined.