Microsoft has recorded a “sharp increase” in distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks within its Azure infrastructure during the first half of 2021.
In the first two quarters of this year, the average daily number of attack mitigations increased by 25 per cent compared to Q4 of 2020.
According to a blog post by the tech giant, Microsoft mitigated an average of 1,392 attacks per day, the maximum reaching 2,043 attacks on 24 May.
In total, the vendor fended off 251,944 unique attacks against its global infrastructure during the first half of 2021.
Microsoft cited online gaming as a particular target, as well as an increase in attacks against the internet of things (IoT) networks and devices. The vendor added that the rise of cryptocurrencies and Bitcoin, which are untraceable, was fuelling an increase in DDoS.
On a positive note, Microsoft claimed the attacks are mostly “short-lived” with 74 per cent being 30 minutes or less and 87 per cent being one hour or less.
More than three-quarters of attacks in Q1 of 2021 were 30 minutes or less, compared to 73 per cent of attacks in Q2.
Similar to 2020, the United States was the recipient of 59 per cent of attacks, Europe took the brunt of 19 per cent) and East Asia 6 per cent experienced 6 per cent. Australia, meanwhile, formed one per cent of the overall DDoS pie.
According to Microsoft, these “were the most attacked regions due to the concentration of financial services and gaming industries in these regions”.
The top source countries to generate DDoS attacks were the United States (29 per cent), China (28 per cent), Russia (3 per cent) and South Korea (3 per cent).
“The world continues to be heavily dependent on digital services. We see a growing reliance on cloud-computing services, across sectors from financial services to healthcare,” the blog added. “Cyber threats are pervasive and ever-evolving and it is always crucial for businesses to develop a robust DDoS response strategy and be proactive in protecting their public workloads.”
In a recent report by CSO, the Global Intelligence Report: The State of Cybersecurity, more than half of organisations who were attacked in May and June this year reported seeing economic damage, a loss of productivity and theft of personally identifiable information (PII). No less than 28 per cent said intellectual property had been stolen.