DDoS attacks and COVID-19 pandemic: DDoS attacks fluctuated noticebly with the worldwide outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Germany and the USA were two typical examples. Interestingly, DDoS attacks soared in Germany after the pandemic outbreak, while the U.S. saw the sharpest rise in DDoS attacks when the number of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases began to surge.
Globally, March and April witnessed the pandemic spreading most rapidly and DDoS attacks taking place most frequently. As a result of worldwide pandemic spread, people had an increasing reliance on the Internet for their social activities and day-to-day work. The surge in DDoS attacks during the pandemic outbreak was partly attributed to competition between peers, where a company attempted to take down another by paralyzing the latter’s network with DDoS attacks to such an extent as to disrupt its normal operations. In addition, network law enforcement agencies loosened supervision, while many attackers had more time on their hands because of not needing to commute to work as usual and so
could take their time to launch more illegal attacks for profits.
Below are the trend charts of the number of global DDoS attacks and that of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced the COVID-19 epidemic as a global pandemic, and a spurt occurred in confirmed cases worldwide. Since the same month, there was an obvious increase in the number and capability of DDoS attacks, as demonstrated in Germany, where the number of attacks changed with that of newly confirmed COVID-19 cases.
As for the U.S., the pandemic began to erupt in early March accompanied by an increasing number of DDoS attacks in the country but with less attack traffic. Multiple news reports indicated that such harassing DDoS attacks were probably for preventing the news about the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak in the U.S. from spreading in the network.
- The US President Trump declared on March 13 that the country entered a state of national emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic. At present, the country has more than 1700 confirmed cases and 40 deaths.
- News from BleepingComputer on March 16, “The United States Health and Human Services Department’s web site was hit with a DDoS cyber attack Sunday night and it went offline in the middle of the Coronavirus outbreak.”
- ABC News on March 17, “The distinction is important because there was no apparent breach of the HHS system, which could interfere with critical functions of the lead agency responding to the coronavirus contagion. A DDOS effort enlists automated users — called bots — to overwhelm a public-facing system in order to slow it down or even paralyze it.” “Nevertheless, the concern is that foreign actors might attempt to exploit the COVID-19 crisis to achieve some of their anti-American goals.”
To be continued.