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Growth of Cyberattacks Explored in New Report

Cybersecurity has been in the news throughout 2016 as the number and severity of attacks has increased. A new report presents analysis on the types of attacks that are growing, the dangers posed by IoT, and the security trends to expect this year.

Global information services provider Neustar has released a new in-depth research report on the recent growth of cyberattacks. The report, "DDoS & Cyber Security Insights," analyzes data collected by through Neustar SiteProtect from January 2016 to November 2016.

Neustar SiteProtect is a global distributed denial of services (DDoS) mitigation network that defends against attacks on Neustar's customers and partners. Providing this service allows them to collect extensive data about the number, types, and sizes of attacks.

Multivector Attacks Now Standard

Neustar reports that multivector attacks increased 322 percent in 2016. Some attacks used as many as seven vectors, and 52 percent of mitigated attacks used multiple vectors -- more than double the number doing so in 2015. The most popular attack vectors were user datagram protocol (UDP), transmission control protocol (TCP), and internet control message protocol (ICMP) -- these were leveraged in more than half of attacks.

Joe Loveless, director of security and cloud services, was responsible for producing the report.  He told Upside:  “One of the most prominent and most concerning trends to emerge from our research is the dramatic increase in multi-vector attacks. Multi-vector attacks create more complexity for security teams, which is why attacks are adopting them as standard practice. DDoS attackers now have accumulated arsenals of botnets so that even as one shuts down, another is initiated.” 

Neustar expects the threat to remain constant and concluded that "organizations can expect to be forced to fend off multiple attacks during the same assault." 

IoT Dangers

The number of connected devices that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT) is still growing, so the danger that compromised IoT devices pose is growing as well. The use of IoT botnets allowed the power and impact of DDoS attacks to increase significantly this year, with some even exceeding one terabyte of traffic per second.

This is possible due to widely distributed malware that allows more hackers to access and control poorly-secured IoT devices. The Mirai code is the most well-known of these; it was used in several high-profile attacks last year.

"Mirai signals a watershed moment for DDoS attacks, where the bad guys finally turned the Internet back on its users," said Rodney Joffe, Neustar SVP and fellow, in a prepared release. "It is imperative to invest in effective DDoS protection now because the threat landscape has fundamentally changed."

Neustar's Lawless notes that “Mirai was an alarming specimen, combining speed, scalability, and overwhelming volumetric attacks. The attack emerged quickly and was capable of producing huge spikes, demonstrating a lot of flexibility in creating the attack. For organizations that have adopted IoT or are evaluating it, it is paramount to consider their network architecture, ensuring policies for user credentials and monitoring traffic for malicious anomalies. It really boils down to being proactive about addressing and assessing risk. IoT security is still emerging, so organizations must take the matter into their own hands to reduce exposure.” 

For more details, the full report is available with registration at

About the Author

Lindsay Stares is a production editor at TDWI. You can contact her here.

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