This major shift online has in turn resulted in opportunities for cybercriminals, and we’ve seen the number of attacks skyrocketing during this time. But it’s not only the number of attacks that have changed since the pandemic broke out - we’re also observing new trends in how attacks are being performed and victims that have been especially targeted.
DDoS Attacks – More in Numbers but Weaker in Power
The number of DDoS attacks has increased significantly during the last few months – between February and September 2020 the number of attacks over the HTTP protocol rose 296% compared to the same period last year. We’re also seeing that attackers are increasingly attempting to find vulnerabilities that require the smallest number of requests per second possible to make a website unavailable. Experts believe that this might be due to an increase in “amateur hackers”, as DDoS attacks are becoming more in numbers but weaker in power, or that these attacks are being used as “smokescreens” for other cybercrimes that might be going on at the same time.
More DDoS Attacks Aimed at the E-Commerce Sector
With new social distancing guidelines, the number of online retailers has been growing exponentially during 2020, where many companies have been forced to push their businesses online. Businesses who previously haven’t needed to be security savvy has thus become attractive targets for hackers, as there are now more sensitive customer data that exists online than ever before. Reflecting this is the number of DDoS attacks than have been targeted at online retailers during this time, which have four-folded compared to earlier years.
Digging even deeper, we can see that those industries that have been in high demand during this year, such as the “home-improvement” industry, have been extra targeted. The demand for new furniture, electronics and renovation services has never been as high, with many households taking the opportunity to upgrade their homes while stuck in quarantine. This is again reflected in the number of DDoS attacks, with there being five times as many attacks against online electronic stores in 2020 compared to year before, seven times as many attacks against renovation services stores, and eight times as many attacks against furniture stores.
This is often caused by cybercriminals seeing the opportunity to demand money from victims by promising to stop attacking once a ransom has been paid.
More Attacks Against Hospitals and the Healthcare Sector
There is no hiding the fact that we are more than ever dependent on our healthcare systems around the world – something that cybercriminals are taking advantage of. The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) has cautioned that it has detected a significant increase in cyberattacks against hospitals and other key organizations that are engaged in the virus response. Hackers are aware that we can’t afford to have hospital or healthcare systems down during this time and are therefore seeing this as an opportunity to launch cyberattacks targeted at these sectors. In some cases, these attacks could hinder hospitals’ ability to respond to the pandemic, as they often need to take their IT systems offline after identifying a breach. IT could take weeks and, in some cases, even months before these systems are fully restored.
Our changed behaviour is reflected in the trends of cyber security
With E-commerce and hospitals being significantly targeted this year, it's clear that our changed behavior in general (shopping online, working remote and most importantly: depending on our healthcare system) is reflected in the trends of the market. It's unfortunate yet true that cybercriminals are taking advantage of the situation. If you're interested in learning more about our Internet protection service which can keep you safe from Internet attacks in any industry or sector, you can learn more here or request a demo of our service here.