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Europe’s worst-ever DDoS attack raises serious questions

A record-breaking distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack situated within Europe was attempted during July, a new report has confirmed, but the lack of details on the target leaves the motive undetermined.

The largest DDoS attack ever detected in European-based regions was revealed by cybersecurity and cloud service firm Akamai, who said the target was one of its own customers.

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As reported by Bleeping Computer, the target, which is based in Eastern Europe, has been subjected to numerous DDoS attacks during the last 30 days. But we’re not really sure why this organization or individual was on the receiving end of this onslaught.

Akamai stated in its report that the attempt was recorded last week on July 21. Over the course of 14 hours, the attack peaked at a whopping 853.7 Gbps (gigabits per second), as well as 659.6 Mpps (million packets per second).

For reference, a DDoS attack is when a threat actor tries to overwhelm the target’s systems and effectively disable its operations by directing an unmanageable amount of traffic to that infrastructure.

Although Akamai understandably opted to not divulge information pertaining to who its client is, it confirmed that the unprecedented DDoS attack was prevented via mitigation methods it had in place.

The threat actor specifically concentrated its efforts on various specific IP addresses. As we touched on above, the attack itself was not an isolated, one-off incident. In fact, the target was connected to 75 DDoS attempts in July alone.

A large monitor displaying a security hacking breach warning.
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Hackers preferred to use the UDP (user datagram protocol) flood in its record-breaking DDoS attempt, which was discovered in both record spikes. They didn’t stop there, though. Its arsenal of tools included other methods, such as UDP fragmentation, ICMP flood, RESET flood, SYN requests flood, TCP anomaly, TCP fragment, PSH ACK flood, FIN push flood, and PUSH flood.

Akamai stated that a “highly-sophisticated global botnet” of infected devices orchestrated the DDoS attacks. Bleeping Computer highlights how this follows a trend of more capable botnets trying to execute DDoS attacks on a level that’s never been seen before.

For example, cloud services firm Cloudflare managed to prevent a DDoS incident that reached 26 million requests per second (RPS) in June, which represents the biggest such attack in history.

Hackers have been quite busy as of late, especially after the pandemic. DDoS attacks are on the rise, ransomware gangs are evolving, the number of attacks in general from threat actors is accelerating at an extremely aggressive rate, newly discovered malware is nearly impossible to remove, and hackers are moving faster than ever in regard to scanning vulnerabilities.

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