Zayo: DDoS attacks up 200%, driven in part by automation

Hackers are relying on AI and automation to fuel cyber attacks, Zayo says

The first half of 2023 saw 200% more dedicated denial of service attacks than the entire year of 2022, according to new data from network infrastructure provider Zayo, with telecommunications companies as the targets of about half of the total attack volume.

Zayo said that the figures for the first half of the year reflected a 314% increase overall attacks, compared to the first half of last year. The second quarter reached a “fever pitch,” with a 387% increase in attacks from the first quarter to the second quarter—which the company said was because cyber criminals are leveraging artificial intelligence and automation to fuel their attacks. Other drivers for the rising number of cyber attacks were identified as increasing digitalization, widespread adoption of work-from-home capabilities and political unrest.

“When your business will get hit by a DDoS attack is a game of probability,” said Anna Claiborne, SVP of packet and product software engineering at Zayo. “With a huge rise in attacks in 2023 and more attacks over 100Gbps, the odds are not in your favor.”

Telecom companies were the target of more than 37,000 cyber attacks during the analysis period, with education-related organizations the second most-common target. Cloud and software-as-a-service companies also saw a “significant increase” in attack frequency, Zayo said.

The largest aggregate attack during the first half was 978 Gbps and leveraged against the telecom sector—which, along with government, was also the target of the largest attacks in 2022. This year, government experienced the longest duration of attacks, Zayo said.

The company drew its conclusions based on analysis of more than 70,000 threat detections and mitigations by Zayo customers in North America and Western Europe, across 14 industries, with data collected between January 1 and June 30 of this year.

More details from the Zayo report available here.

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