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Pulse Wave Techniques Allow Cybercriminals to Quickly Ramp Up DDoS Attacks

By Shane Schick
What used to be a gradual buildup of botnet traffic in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks has morphed into a series of pulses that spray at different targets like a water cannon, security experts have learned.
A blog post from security firm Imperva Incapsula looked at attacks that have taken place so far this year. Whereas cybercriminals traditionally use an army of bots to force a website offline, the researchers discovered pulses of activity that seemingly come out of nowhere with peak impact. In other words, rather than switching on the bots and creating a slow but steady wave, threat actors are now keeping them on at all times but distributing them differently.

An Instant Crescendo of Malicious Traffic

Companies have tried to mitigate the effects of the attacks by shifting traffic from an on-premises environment to a cloud-based failover area, according to Naked Security. But the near instant crescendo of traffic during these attacks means that those traditional defenses may not work anymore. It also shows how many networks are vulnerable to malicious traffic.
The pulse wave attacks suggest that cybercriminals are being far more strategic and sophisticated in how they carry out their efforts, Tom’s Hardware reported. For instance, the ability to divert malicious traffic from one spot to another could fool an organization into thinking a DDoS assault is over when, in reality, another wave is on its way.

Pulse DDoS Attacks Widen Their Range of Targets

Some of the most likely targets for DDoS attacks include financial technology companies and gaming sites, Imperva Incapsula reported. Organizations of this nature are probably targeted because they deal in lucrative transactions and host personal information about their customers. If pulse wave DDoS becomes popular, there’s a greater possibility that such attacks will be aimed at many other sectors.
Although CSO Online suggested that Imperva Incapsula has a vested interest in encouraging companies to move away from appliance-first hybrid products to mitigate DDoS threats, there’s no question that pulse wave attacks deserve further study as other cybercriminals learn to make use of them.

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