Gartner Says 25 Percent of Distributed Denial of Services Attacks in 2013 Will Be Application-Based

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STAMFORD, Conn., February 21, 2013

Twenty-five percent of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks that occur in 2013 will be application-based, according to Gartner, Inc. During such incidents, attackers send out targeted commands to applications to tax the central processing unit (CPU) and memory and make the application unavailable.

"2012 witnessed a new level of sophistication in organized attacks against enterprises across the globe, and they will grow in sophistication and effectiveness in 2013," said Avivah Litan, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. "A new class of damaging DDoS attacks and devious criminal social-engineering ploys were launched against U.S. banks in the second half of 2012, and this will continue in 2013 as well-organized criminal activity takes advantage of weaknesses in people, processes and systems."

Gartner has identified some of the top 2013 criminal trends and potential safeguards and solutions for firms at risk of attack.

High-bandwidth DDoS attacks are becoming the new norm and will continue wreaking havoc on unprepared enterprises in 2013

A new class of damaging DDoS attacks was launched against U.S. banks in the second half of 2012, sometimes adding up to 70 Gbps of noisy network traffic blasting at the banks through their Internet pipes. Until this recent spate of attacks, most network-level DDoS attacks consumed only five Gbps of bandwidth, but more recent levels made it impossible for bank customers and others using the same pipes to get to their websites.

"To combat this risk, enterprises need to revisit their network configurations, and rearchitect them to minimize the damage that can be done," said Ms. Litan. "Organizations that have a critical Web presence and cannot afford relatively lengthy disruptions in online service should employ a layered approach that combines multiple DOS defenses."

Hackers use DDoS attacks to distract security staff so that they can steal sensitive information or money from accounts

Enterprises subject to DDoS attacks should take steps to mitigate potential damage from these attacks. In particular, Gartner advocates cooperation with industry associations to share intelligence that can be acted on collectively and quickly, as well as enterprise investments in fraud prevention technology and the strengthening of organizational processes.

People continue to be the weakest link in the security chain, as criminal social engineering ploys reach new levels of deviousness in 2013

In 2012, several different fraud scams that took social engineering tactics to new heights of deviousness have been reported, including criminals approaching people in person as law enforcement or bank officers to help them through account migration that then comprised their bank accounts.

Gartner recommends deploying layered fraud prevention and identity-proofing techniques to help stop the social engineering attacks from succeeding. In particular, fraud prevention systems that provide user or account behavioral profiling and entity link analysis are useful in these cases. Call center call analytics and fraud prevention software can be deployed to help catch fraudsters committing crimes via social engineering or by using stolen identities. Customers should also be educated on best security practices to help them avoid phishing attacks and social engineering ploys.

More detailed analysis is available in the report "Arming Financial and E-Commerce Services Against Top 2013 Cyberthreats" The report is available on Gartner's website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=2320416.

More information on security solutions and management will be presented at the Gartner Identity and Access Management Summit taking place March 11-13 in London, U.K. More information can be found at http://www.gartner.com/technology/summits/emea/identity-access/. Members of the media can register to attend the event by contact Rob van der Meulen at rob.vandermeulen@gartner.com.

Information from the Gartner IAM Summit 2013 will be shared on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Gartner_inc using #GartnerIAM.

Gartner analysts will also look at the outlook for security solutions at the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit taking place June 10-13 in National Harbor, MD and September 18-20 in London, U.K. More information on the U.S. event can be found at www.gartner.com/us/itsecurity. Details on the U.K. event are at http://www.gartner.com/technology/summits/emea/security/. Members of the media can register for press passes to the Summits by contacting christy.pettey@gartner.com (U.S.), or laurence.goasduff@gartner.com (U.K).

Information from the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summits 2013 will be shared on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Gartner_inc using #GartnerSEC.

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About Gartner

Gartner, Inc. (NYSE: IT) is the world's leading information technology research and advisory company. Gartner delivers the technology-related insight necessary for its clients to make the right decisions, every day. From CIOs and senior IT leaders in corporations and government agencies, to business leaders in high-tech and telecom enterprises and professional services firms, to technology investors, Gartner is the valuable partner to clients in 12,000 distinct organizations. Through the resources of Gartner Research, Gartner Executive Programs, Gartner Consulting and Gartner Events, Gartner works with every client to research, analyze and interpret the business of IT within the context of their individual role. Founded in 1979, Gartner is headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A., and has 5,000 associates, including 1,280 research analysts and consultants, and clients in 85 countries. For more information, www.gartner.com.