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New data: what does a political cyber attack look like?

June 2018 by Kirill Kasavchenko, principal security technologist, EMEA at NETSCOUT Arbor

A distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the website of an opposing a Mexican presidential candidate during a debate, has renewed fears that elections around the globe are vulnerable to a cyberattacks.

In light of this, NETSCOUT Arbor have released new data* that shows:
• They have observed more than 300 attacks a day in Mexico during the period of 12th-13th of June, which is 50% above the normal frequency in the country
• The largest volumetric DDoS attack targeting Mexico this week was more than 200 Gbps

Kirill Kasavchenko, principal security technologist, EMEA, NETSCOUT Arbor comments:

“Political websites are frequent targets of DDoS attacks not only due to the ease of launching attacks, but also due to desire and capabilities of attackers to impact the election process while staying undiscovered. The nature of modern DDoS attacks means it is now quite easy to ‘frame’ attacks as originating from another country through utilizing computers and IoT devices infected by malware, or using techniques like reflection of DDoS traffic. Tracing down the original source of the attack – and people behind it – is problematic not only from technical, but also from administrative point of view.

“Our latest Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report demonstrated that vandalism, together with political and ideological disputes, are in the Top 3 motivations of DDoS attacks, so it is not surprising to see increased DDoS activities around election campaigns in Mexico. Having almost two decades of experience in DDoS research and mitigation, we know that stopping these attacks requires preparation and careful planning to make sure that right technology, people and processes are in place.”

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