IT Brief New Zealand logo
Technology news for New Zealand's largest enterprises
Story image

Q1 DDoS and application attack activity reveals surprise result

By Contributor
Thu 16 Jun 2022

Article by Radware director of threat intelligence, Pascal Geenens.

The cybersecurity threat landscape in the first quarter of 2022 represented a mixed bag of old enemies and new foes. New actors dominated the DDoS threat landscape while application security faced tried-and-true attack vectors.

These attacks were largely driven by a threat landscape turbocharged by geopolitical instability, hacktivists, nation-state threat actors, and a focus on exploiting newly discovered vulnerabilities.

A detailed analysis of real-world network and application attack activity from the first quarter of 2022 revealed some surprising results.

DDoS attack trends

In DDoS, micro floods increased by 125% in the first quarter of 2022 versus the fourth quarter of 2021. Micro floods are low throughput attack vectors with throughputs below 1Gbps but above 10Mbps.

Typically they fly under the radar and cannot be detected using traditional algorithms or techniques that spot larger throughput attack vectors based solely on thresholds.

By combining a large number of micro floods or adding micro floods to a mix of mid-sized and large attack vectors, attackers can significantly increase the complexity of their attack campaigns. Attackers can make mitigation harder by forcing mitigators to constantly adapt their policies.

Additionally, the number of blocked malicious events (per customer) rose nearly 75% compared to the first quarter of 2021. However, overall blocked volumes (in TBs) decreased dramatically.

The education and telecommunication sectors took the brunt of DDoS attacks, representing 67% of DDoS attack volume in the first three months of 2022, while the Americas represented over half of DDoS attack volumes during the same period.

Application attack trends

In terms of application attack activity, malicious bot activity increased dramatically. Bad bot transactions increased by 126% in the first quarter of 2022 versus the first quarter of 2021.

Cross-referencing application attack data against the OWASP Top 10 application security violations shows that Broken Access Control (A01 in OWASP 2021) represented over half of all blocked security violations during the first quarter of 2022.

High tech (31%) and the retail sector (27%) faced the majority of application attacks during the first quarter of 2022. Telecommunications/carriers finished in third place at 21%.

Lastly, predictable resource location, code injections and SQL injections were fan favourites of threat actors and represented the top three application violations, respectively, in the first quarter of 2022.

DDoS and application threat landscape analysis

The first quarter of 2022 was marked by geopolitical, hacktivist denial-of-service, and nation-state vulnerability-focused cyber activity.

Following the invasion of Ukraine and the escalation of hybrid warfare, my company monitored an increase in denial-of-service attacks targeting both the Russian and Ukrainian governments and associated financial institutions. The increase in denial-of-service activity was driven mostly by patriotic hacktivism from pro-Ukrainian and pro-Russian activists.

The IT Army of Ukraine brought hacking to the masses, including teens, via gamification of denial-of-service attacks. This included the playforukraine[.]info website, where in-game achievements are Russian websites you helped disrupt while playing.

WordPress websites were breached and injected with malicious code to perform denial-of-service attacks against Ukrainian targets upon loading the webpage. Any visitor of the breached WordPress sites became a bot, performing application-level, denial-of-service attacks targeted at a list of websites curated by the authors of the malicious code.

In an act of protest against the invasion of Ukraine, the maintainer of a popular Node.js module called ‘node-ipc’, deliberately sabotaged his module. The module, providing local and remote inter-process communication (IPC), is leveraged by many neural network and machine-learning tools.

The developer altered his code to deliberately corrupt files on systems running applications that depend on the node-ipc module, but only if the systems were geolocated in either Russia or Belarus.

The decentralised finance (DeFi) sector became a prime target for attacks. Crypto exchanges faced denial-of-service attacks following their ban of Russian citizens. Crypto exchanges were also the target of financially motivated attacks by North Korean state-sponsored threat actors.

A new vulnerability was discovered in the Java Spring framework, a popular framework for building online applications. Following its public disclosure at the end of March, after a Chinese researcher published a proof-of-concept on Github, Spring4shell was quickly exploited and required businesses to quickly patch applications leveraging the Java Spring framework.

OpIsrael, a yearly operation targeting Israelian businesses and citizens, was nearly non-existent this year due to Anonymous’ focus on the Russian/Ukrainian conflict.

OpsBedil, a hacktivist operation targeting Middle Eastern organisations in 2021, returned this year. OpsBedil is considered the replacement for the now-defunct OpIsrael operations. The new OpsBedil operations were conducted by DragonForce Malaysia and its affiliates throughout Southeast Asia, specifically Malaysia and Indonesia.

The current operation, OpsBedilReloaded, is considered a political response to events that occurred in Israel on April 11, 2022. During OpsBedilReloaded, hacktivists executed website defacements, sensitive data leaks and denial-of-service attacks. Based on previous OpsBedil TTPs, attack campaigns can be expected to run through April, May and potentially into the June/July timeframe.

Hacktivist campaigns like OpsBedil, while nowhere close to as notorious as OpIsrael once was, present a renewed level of risk for the region. Unlike Anonymous, DragonForce Malaysia and its affiliates have the time, the resources and the motivation to execute these attacks and present a moderate-level threat to Israel.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Is your chatbot bringing down the customer satisfaction score?
The top 10 reasons why chatbots are failing to meet customer expectations and what you must do to avoid that.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Fastly, INX, Kinly, SmartBear & Vectra AI
We round up all job appointments from July 29 - August 12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
InternetNZ
How well do rangatahi understand cyber safety in Aotearoa?
Do rangatahi in Aotearoa understand the importance of being safe online, or has lifelong exposure to the internet resulted in widespread complacency?
Story image
Data Protection
Advancing genomic sequencing and public health with digital infrastructures
Right before our eyes, we've witnessed the development of the COVID-19 vaccine in record time. An enormous achievement in an otherwise lengthy task that previously took, on average, 10-15 years.
Story image
Data analytics
Pressure on orgs to up their data analytics game - study
A recent report from Sisense highlights data transmission, analysis, and risk management remain top concerns for data professionals in APAC.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Gartner unveils key emerging tech to watch in 2022
"Such technologies present greater risks for deployment, but potentially greater benefits for early adopters," says Gartner.
Story image
Firewall
Why printing security plays a vital part in keeping Aotearoa safe
While internet printing, mobile printing and other similar technologies have no doubt made things easier to manage, it has also brought a whole new set of problems to the table.
Story image
Servers
New Zealand cloud provider challenges Google's claims on data control for region
A Wellington cloud services provider says Google's claim it will offer New Zealanders complete control over their own data is not true.
Story image
VMware
Latest VMware threat report reveals truth about deepfakes
"Cyber criminals have evolved. Their new goal is to use deepfake technology to compromise organisations and gain access to their environment."
AWS Marketplace
Learn how security orchestration, automation, and response (SOAR) enhances your security strategy.
Link image
Story image
Sustainability
NZ program recovers and recycles more than 177 tonnes of e-waste
The TechCollect NZ pilot program says its milestone of recovering and recycling more than 177 tonnes of ICT e-waste recognises the efforts of many.
Story image
Ingram Micro
Ingram Micro NZ sees $74 million revenue growth in 2021
Ingram Micro New Zealand's latest financial report reveals that its revenue from contracts with customers increased by almost $74 million in 2021.
Story image
Indusface
Why enhancing bot protection for web and API endpoints matters
The trouble with bots is that they aren’t all bad. Unfortunately, this can make it challenging to detect malicious bots that find their way into your system and threaten your business.
Story image
Augmented Reality
TeamViewer remote access software integrated into RealWear Cloud
TeamViewer has announced a major expansion of its partnership with RealWear, a leading provider of assisted reality wearable solutions for frontline industrial workers. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
Palo Alto Networks responds to rise in threats with MDR service
Unit 42 Managed Detection and Response is a new service that can offer continuous 24/7 threat detection, investigation and response.
Story image
Enterprise Resource Planning / ERP
Why the right ERP (and partner) is crucial to an innovative and successful business
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a foundational step to ensuring a robust business model; here's why choosing the right one could be vital to ensuring long-term success and innovative results.
Story image
Developers
Snyk announces plans to expand partner network in APJ
Recognising that partnerships are critical for growth, Snyk is building an entire partner ecosystem that will drive its expansion across APJ.
Story image
SaaS
Exclusive: The Access Group shares the benefits of embracing SaaS
In today's rapidly changing working environments, efficiency and productivity are surefire ways to create business growth and success.
Story image
ExtraHop
Organisations exposing highly sensitive protocols to public internet
More than 60% of organisations expose remote control protocol SSH to the public internet, while 36% of organisations expose the insecure FTP protocol.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Education sector seeing highest volumes of cyber attacks
When breaking down the numbers to education attacks by region in July 2022, A/NZ was the most heavily attacked.
Story image
Data analytics
Data analytics a struggle for A/NZ healthcare organisations
A study by InterSystems has found that most Australian and New Zealand healthcare organisations struggle to use data analytics to support their business objectives.
Story image
Charity
SnapLogic teams up with meetmagic for charity and children
SnapLogic has announced its partnership with meetmagic, an online Australian platform that combines business and philanthropy.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
The essential guide to digital transformation by SolarWinds
Digital transformation is a buzzword thrown around all the time by companies, but what does it actually mean and why is it important? SolarWinds breaks it down.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Exclusive: NZ-based DEFEND offers global cyber protection
DEFEND supports customers in 66 countries across the globe with a relentless focus on ensuring that every dollar spent on security provides a meaningful return on investment and reduces cyber risk.
Story image
Cyber attacks
Dramatic uptick in threat activity with exploits growing nearly 150%
"While it’s not a surprise given increased attack opportunities like remote work, it’s still a worrying development and one we cannot ignore."
Story image
Surveillance
Ministry will no longer accept equipment from Chinese firm Hikvision
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) says it will no longer accept equipment from a major Chinese surveillance camera maker.
Story image
Gartner Magic Quadrant
Gartner names Lookout a Visionary in 2022 Magic Quadrant
Gartner has recognised Lookout as a Visionary in the 2022 Magic Quadrant for Security Service Edge (SSE) and one of the top three offerings in the 2022 Gartner Critical Capabilities for SSE report.
Story image
Privileged Access Management / PAM
The importance of stopping identity sprawl for cybersecurity
The 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) shows that 61% of all breaches involve malicious actors gaining unauthorised, privileged access to data by using a compromised credential. Unfortunately, it is often too late when the misuse of a credential is detected.
Story image
Compliance
Why security needs to shape your journey to the cloud
It's estimated that 80% of workloads could be in the cloud in the next few years. How can you make all that data secure?
Story image
Dark web
Beware the darkverse and its cyber-physical threats
A darkverse of criminality hidden from law enforcement could quickly evolve to fuel a new industry of metaverse-related cybercrime.
Story image
Red Hat
Red Hat announces 2022 awards winners for A/NZ region
Red Hat recently acknowledged Australia and New Zealand partners with its annual awards, highlighting partners across various categories.
Story image
Application Performance Monitoring / APM
New Relic integrates offering with Atlassian’s Jira Software
New Relic has integrated errors inbox with Jira Software to allow developers to easily access and set up complete stack error tracking and software performance monitoring from within the tool.
Story image
Malware
Avast One extends protection with Online Safety Score
Avast One has extended its cross-platform support by adding its Online Safety Score feature to both the Mac and iOS platforms of Avast One.
Story image
Dicker Data
Dicker Data brought on as Acronis partner for A/NZ
The news about the partnership comes in as cyber criminals continue to exploit gaps in traditional solutions and strategies in NZ and across the APAC region.
Story image
SaaS
Cloud and data protection big challenges for NZ businesses
"This surge towards a cloud-first approach meant security and safety became afterthoughts - there's no point being the fastest car on the racetrack if you crash.”
Story image
IDC
High level of Customer Identity & Access Management adoption
The study from Okta revealed that the pandemic has either accelerated or highlighted the need for digital-first strategies.
Story image
Data Protection
VMware introduces advanced workload protection for AWS
VMware Carbon Black Workload for AWS delivers comprehensive visibility and security across on-premises and cloud environments for AWS customers.
Story image
Infrastructure
IBM expands Power10 server line for business modernisation
IBM has recently announced a significant expansion of its Power10 server line with the introduction of mid-range and scale-out systems.
Story image
Google Cloud
Google Cloud to open first cloud region in NZ - among others
Google Cloud has announced plans to bring three new cloud regions, one each in New Zealand, Malaysia and Thailand.
Story image
Distribution
Garmin expands NZ footprint with new Auckland distribution centre
The facility at Goodman’s Highbrook Business Park will be fully operational from October 2022 and features 3,586sqm of warehouse space.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Datacom research explores reality of zero trust in A/NZ
Zero trust is fast emerging as global best practice in cybersecurity and local leaders are on board, with 83% considering it essential to security.