The Evolution of Politically Motivated Distributed Denial of Service Attacks

In this research, Jose Nazario from Arbor Networks explores the history of distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS), which were previously designed to inflict punitive damage on the victim but have since grown into censorship tools.


Cyberwarfare has been waged for well over a decade, utilizing methods such as website defacement, data leakage, and distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS). This paper focuses on the latter, attacks that are easily carried out and designed to overwhelm a victim’s network with wasted traffic. The goal of a DDoS attack is to make the use of the network impossible for internal or external users.  Our approach measure such attacks by looking at Internet backbone traffic, botnet activities, BGP routing changes, and community chatter about such attacks to provide a robust picture of politically targeted DDoS attacks. Our analysis indicates that most of the attackers are non-state actors but are able to fluidly utilize a growing botnet population to launch massive denial of service attacks. This finding has broad ramifications for the future of these attacks.


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