DDoS attacks, mobile traffic visibility top security concerns: Arbor

Political hacktivism strongest motivation behind DDoS attacks, according to an Arbor Networks report

More than 90 per cent of data centre operators are experiencing distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, according to Arbor Networks’ 8th Annual Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report.

A further 60 per cent of mobile providers have no visibility of traffic on their mobile evolved packet core, the framework for providing converged data and voice services on their 4G LTE networks, the report said.

Arbor surveyed 130 security professionals across different market segments globally, 20 per cent which are in the Asia-Pacific region, and found 83.3 per cent of respondents are experiencing between one and 50 DDoS attacks on their data centres every month. A further 88 per cent were experiencing operational expense as a result.

Nick Race, Arbor’s country manager for Australia and New Zealand, said the high number of DDoS attacks is particularly a concern in Australia as more and more organisations are moving their infrastructure to the cloud.

“It’s a real concern for Australia because we’re adopting the cloud in such great numbers and it’s not clear which hosting providers offer that kind of protection, it’s not something that they are heavily marketing at the moment. That, I guess, is an area of concern,” he said.

“There were a number of hosting providers last year who went public on the fact that they were being attacked and their infrastructure was taken off air so it’s definitely happening in Australia.”

The report also found 28.6 per cent of respondents are seeing attacks targeting mobile users, radio access network (RAN), back-haul or packet core connections.

“On average I think it’s over 70 per cent of people experience between one and 10 attacks per month, and that includes the mobile operators as well. So the numbers of attacks are definitely on the rise,” Race said.

Race said although this is a growing concern, most Australian mobile operators offer broadband services and therefore have the relevant experience to better analyse their mobile networks.

“The skills [in broadband technology] that some of the operators have here in Australia [means] they can apply that to the mobile network. But other mobile operators just don’t have the visibility, they don’t have the tools to actually see what’s going on in their network and therefore they don’t know what levels of attacks are going on.

“I think it’s just the maturity of the market. They are so busy rolling out coverage that maybe their security is not always front of mind, I guess.”

Political hacktivism is the strongest motivation behind DDoS attacks, the report found. Race recognised the importance of the Gillard government’s cyber security initiative announced last week in fighting hacktivism and cyber warfare.

“12 months ago there were a number of attacks on some of our financial institutions, slightly different attacks to what we saw in September in October last year against the US banks.

"But it just goes to show that our institutions here in Australia are not immune to these types of attacks and they are certainly on the radar of the ‘bad guys’.”

Follow Rebecca Merrett on Twitter: @Rebecca_Merrett

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