This blog post was co-authored by Amir Dahan, Senior Program Manager, Anupam Vij, Principal Program Manager, Skye Zhu, Data and Applied Scientist 2, and Syed Pasha, Principal Network Engineer, Azure Networking.
In our 2020 retrospective, we highlighted shifts in the active cyberthreat landscape. With the huge surge in internet activity, particularly with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks have ramped up significantly in both volume and complexity.
We continue to see such trends in the first half of the calendar year 2021. With the increased usage and supply of IoT devices as well as cryptocurrency like Bitcoin (which is hard to trace), we see a rise in ransomware and ransom DDoS attacks1, whose victims included Mexico’s national lottery sites2 as well as Bitcoin.org3, among others. The online gaming vertical continues to be a very attractive target of DDoS attacks, as experienced by Respawn Entertainment throughout the past few months who suffered significant disruptions to Titanfall’s gameplay4. More industries are being targeted, particularly higher education5, healthcare6, telecoms7, and public sectors. In May, a DDoS attack on Belnet, the internet service provider (ISP) for Belgium’s public sector, took down the websites of more than 200 organizations8 that included the Belgian government, parliament, universities, and research institutes.
At Microsoft, the Azure DDoS Protection team protects every property in Microsoft and the entire Azure infrastructure. In this review, we share trends and insights into DDoS attacks we observed and mitigated throughout the first half of 2021.