Uncovering the cost and profitability of DDoS attacks

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DDoS attacks are a popular cyber criminal technique, used either to cause a distraction for a different crime or demand a ransom for calling off or not launching an attack.

New research from Kaspersky Lab reveals how profitable this activity can be. Researchers studied the DDoS services on offer on the black market and looked at how far the illegal business has advanced, as well as the extent of its popularity and profitability.

The findings show that DDoS attacks can cost anywhere from $5 for a 300-second attack to $400 for a 24-hour attack. Based on the research, the average price for an attack is around $25 per hour. Kaspersky Lab’s experts were also able to calculate that an attack using a cloud-based botnet of 1000 desktops is likely to cost the providers about $7 per hour. That means the cybercriminals organizing DDoS attacks are making a profit of around $18 per hour.

Ransoms for calling off or not launching an attack can be the bitcoin equivalent of thousands of dollars, meaning the profitability of a single attack can exceed 95 percent.

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Attacks on government websites and resources protected by dedicated anti-DDoS solutions are much more expensive, as the former are high risk, while the latter are more difficult to attack. For instance, on one DDoS-as-a-service website, the cost of an attack on an unprotected website ranges from $50 to $100, while an attack on a protected site costs $400 or more.

Arranging a DDoS attack is very similar to dealing with a legitimate business. The only difference is that there is no direct contact between the provider and the customer. The “service providers” offer a convenient site where customers, after registering, can select the service they need, pay for it, and receive a report about the attacks. In some cases, there is even a customer loyalty program, with clients receiving rewards or bonus points for each attack. Some sites go so far as to offer protection against attacks too.

“Cybercriminals are constantly on the lookout for new and cheaper ways of organizing botnets, as well as coming up with ever more ingenious attack scenarios that security solutions will have difficulty dealing with,” says Denis Makrushin, security researcher at Kaspersky Lab. “That’s why, as long as there are vulnerable servers, computers and IoT devices connected to the internet, and many companies prefer not to invest in security against DDoS attacks, we can expect the profitability of DDoS attacks to continue growing, along with their complexity and frequency.”

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You can read more about the findings on the Kaspersky Securelist blog.

Photo Credit: DD Images/Shutterstock

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