DDoS attacks soared during second half of 2010

The Web Hacking Incident Database (WHID) semi-annual report from Trustwave says that distributed denial of service attacks soared by 22% to take pole position in the web attack charts, compared to the first half 2010 figures.

Based on the report, which analysed 75 web hacking incidents, the compliance specialist notes that website downtime is far from the traditional intended outcome of an attack, which is typically hacking for profit.

As a result, the firm adds, most businesses were not equipped to handle such an attack because they had not tested - nor properly implemented - anti-automation defences for their web application architecture.

The research notes that most businesses wrongly assume that network hardware will stop DDoS attacks, or believe their website will not be targeted by such attacks.

"But the increase in this attack vector proves that businesses, both large and small, should test their website limitations to better understand how their applications will respond to such an attack", says the report.

"As the paradigm shifts from attacking the network to attacking the application, web application firewalls can help businesses monitor application performance metrics", the study adds

Delving into the report reveals that attacks against government agencies resulted in defacement in 26% of attacks, while the finance sector experienced monetary loss in 64% of attacks.

Retail, meanwhile, says the research, was most affected by credit card leakage at 27%.

The surge in attacks was mainly, adds the report, a result of ideological hacking efforts using DDoS attacks as part of the Anonymous Group versus Anti-Piracy and WikiLeaks events.

Trustwave says that the top five issues involved in DDoS attacks during the second half of 2010 were:

Insufficient anti-automation (Denial of Service)

Improper input handling (SQL Injection)

Improper output handling (XSS, Planting of Malware)

Misconfiguration (Improper configuration and detailed error messages)

Insufficient authentication (Stolen Credentials/Banking Trojans)

Robert McCullen, the firm's chairman, said that the report helps organisations better understand the potential business and technological impact of an attack.

"Such research enables informed and accurate decisions to protect and secure online commerce", he explained.

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