Modern DDoS attacks: When Moore’s law meets Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

Modern DDoS attacks: When Moore’s law meets Darwin’s Theory of Evolution

dezembro 4, 2015 | NSFOCUS

Track:  General Security

Author: Dave Martin, Director of Product Marketing, NSFOCUS

DDoS attacks

What would happen if you combined Moore’s law with Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and applied them to DDoS attacks?  Unfortunately, modern DDoS attacks seem to embody this idea perfectly as both the frequency and complexity of these attacks have become truly staggering in just a short amount of time.

Darwin’s general premise is that the complex evolves from the simple…but gradually, over an extended period of time.  Moore’s law states that the number of transistors in an IC doubles approximately every 2 years – a phenomenal rate of growth.  Today’s DDoS attacks blend both of these ideas and they have never been more frequent, complex and damaging to organizations of any size.

DDoS attacks have evolved at an alarming rate, from very simple volumetric or application layer attacks to complex, multi-layered threats that not only seek to disrupt service, but also to distract from other damaging exploits like theft of vital data or the installation of backdoors for more sophisticated Advanced Persistent Threats (APT). The early days of hacking required some amount of technical skill and a detailed understanding of the underlying network and application protocols to create an attack.  Today, there are massive, automated botnets available for rent ranging from $10s to $100s USD monthly and capable of generating up to multiple Gbps worth of attack traffic. They can be combined or used in combination with other amplification techniques to generate an overwhelming amount of attack traffic.  These botnets increasingly use sophisticated, complex, multi-layer attacks but can be controlled with a simple web GUI front-end.  A single credit card number or PayPal account and the IP address (or addresses) of the victim are often all that is needed to launch massive attacks capable of disrupting critical online systems.

Fortunately, it is not all doom and gloom. DDoS mitigation techniques have also evolved and today the DDoS mitigation solution market is made up of dozens of companies who collectively invest billions of dollars in the research and development of advanced countermeasures.  The accuracy and effectiveness of these solutions certainly differ but there is no denying that specialized DDoS technology is being deployed by organizations of all sizes in order to insulate themselves against this growing threat.


DMDave Martin brings to NSFOCUS more than 20 years of experience with IT security and networking technologies in a variety of engineering, product marketing, product management and business development roles.  He currently serves as a Director of Product Marketing responsible for market positioning, go-to-market strategy and product release.  Prior to joining NSFOCUS Mr. Martin has held executive and technical positions at companies including Edgewater Networks, Nokia, Ipsilon Networks and Newbridge Networks.  Mr. Martin is a US Patent holder, a recognized security and networking expert and regular speaker at trade shows, partner conferences, insight panels, webinars and other industry events.