The State of the Internet/Security Report released by Akamai Technologies that analyzed more than 7.3 trillion bot requests per month, found a sharp increase in the threat of credential abuse, with more than 40 percent of login attempts being malicious.Akamai’s data further indicates that DDoS attacks remain a consistent threat and the Mirai botnet is still capable of strong bursts of activity.
Akamai researchers have seen recent hacker activity turning to exploit remote code execution vulnerabilities in enterprise-level software to make enterprise systems part of the botnet threat. For example, hackers have been exploiting vulnerabilities in the GoAhead embedded HTTP server—which has 700,000 potential targets—and Oracle WebLogic Server. Aided by the disclosure of Spectre and Meltdown earlier this year, both vulnerabilities open the door to a new wave of attacks, including the surreptitious installation of crypto mining programs that tie up computing resources.
“A key motive of attackers has always been financial profit. In the past few years, we have seen adversaries move to more direct methods to achieve that goal such as ransomware,” said Martin McKeay, senior security advocate and senior editor, State of the Internet / Security Report. “Crypto mining offers attackers the most direct avenue to monetize efforts by putting money immediately into their cryptowallets.”
Akamai’s findings also confirmed that the total number of DDoS attacks last quarter (Q4 2017) increased 14 percent from the same time last year (Q4 2016). While previous reports from this year showed the intensity of the Mirai botnet fading, Akamai saw a spike of nearly 1 million unique IP addresses from the botnet scanning the Internet in late November, showing that it is still capable of explosive growth.
Other highlights from Akamai’s Fourth Quarter, 2017 State of the Internet / Security Report include:
- The hospitality industry suffered as the biggest target of fraudulent credential attacks, with 82 percent of their login attempts being from malicious botnets.
- The financial industry saw a sharp increase in the number of DDoS attacks, experiencing 298 DDoS attacks against 37 distinct organizations last quarter.
- Application layer DDoS attacks such as GET, PUSH and POST floods increased in volume in Q4 by 115 percent since Q3.
- There was a 31 percent increase in DDoS attacks sourcing from the U.S. last quarter (Q4 2017) compared to the same timeframe last year (Q4 2016).
- Akamai saw 146 Petabytes of traffic in November and 145 Petabytes in December of bot traffic alone, which translates to approximately 550 Mbps.
- Akamai mitigated 4,364 attack events on the routed platform in the fourth quarter of 2017. In total, Akamai experienced 15,965 attack events throughout 2017.