5 Reasons DDoS Attacks Are the Biggest Threat to Governments Worldwide

ddos attacks on government | MazeBolt

DDoS attacks on governments have continued to make headlines in the last couple of years elevating it to the top of many countries’ national security agendas. With the growth in digital and cloud technologies, the internet has become another major battlefield used for launching DDoS attacks that cripple services and paralyze communications across entire countries.

Here are 5 reasons why DDoS attackers are targeting Government institutions:

  • Political Upheavals

  • Ideological Belief

  • Cyber Warfare

  • Ulterior Motives

  • Extortion

  1. Political Upheavals
    DDoS attacks are among the most visible and disruptive of cyber-attacks to cause political disruptions. On July 16th this year, the Russian Defense Ministry’s website was knocked offline. The attack was claimed to be the work of a foreign cyberattack. Ukraine's Defense Ministry portal has also been DDoS attacked several times. DDoS attacks can often be witnessed during elections. Politically motivated attacks are aimed to cause the victim damage or register their displeasure with some actions. Before and during the US elections, political campaigns experienced an average of 4,949 cyber-threats per day, and larger campaigns even more. Government election-related sites were seeing over 122,000 threats every day. This is problematic given that nowadays, campaigns rely heavily on online platforms like video conferencing, online fundraising, and social media to reach voters.

  2. Ideological Belief
    Hackers become motivated to attack political targets because of their ideological beliefs against nation-state or government policies. This motivation has become an influential reason behind many DDoS attacks. In January 2019, Zimbabwean government-related websites were hit with a DDoS attack by the hacktivist group Anonymous protesting internet censorship in the country.
    Philippines Rights Group Karapatan suffered heavy and sustained DDoS attacks proxied using at least 30,000 bots.

  3. Cyber Warfare
    New Zealand was targeted on 14th September and for days the DDoS attack crippled its essential services including Inland Revenue, Met service, and postal services. The attack on Ireland this year was a forerunner for a larger ransomware attack. There are also incidents of “state-sponsored” attacks. The 2020 Australia government attacks, targeted Australian businesses and governments. The attacks were described as “state-sponsored”, which means a foreign government was believed to be behind it.

  4. Ulterior Motives
    Historical data indicates that for hackers, any large-scale event is an invitation to launch a DDoS attack. In March 2020, the US Department of Health and Human Services was hit by a DDoS attack just as the agency was scrambling to provide information and critical services in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. While the attack was unsuccessful, the potential impact of a successful attack would have been enormous. With the HHS system down, it would have been easy for cyber attackers to spread disinformation, set up fake government websites, and potentially steal data from network systems left exposed. DDoS attacks on governments can stun day to day operations like the Sep 25th DDoS attack on Netherlands Ministry of Health Corona Check system that prevented creation of QR codes that the government has necessitated to gain entry to catering and cultural establishments.

  5. Extortion
    Along with political motives, hackers indulge in attacks for cyber extortion demanding ransom in the form of Bitcoin. The hackers demand ransom threatening data exposure or long periods of downtime. On May 14th 2021, Ireland’s Health Service Executive (HSE) was down and it was reported that the DDoS attacks were a forerunner for a larger ransomware attack

    View Infographics: DDoS Attack on Government 2021

What Governments do to mitigate DDoS attacks ?

  1. Install Web service applications on many independent servers based in different parts of the world. However, they could still be hacked, though all of them going down at the same time may not happen.
  2. Use the services of independent DDoS proxy service providers but this could involve some latency and even some points of failure.
  3. Protect systems with the best IP filtering appliances available but that would need weekly testing using tools designed for this for effective management.  
  4. Use specialized DDoS mitigation services from leading vendors but even with regular testing and the best mitigation systems installed, DDoS traffic still manages to bypass DDoS mitigation defenses and cause damage. The resulting DDoS vulnerability gap is a staggering 48%, causing system disruption and downtime.

So, what are the main challenges with existing DDoS mitigation solutions?

DDoS attacks are increasingly more complex and quick. They leave much less time for current DDoS mitigation systems to react. Many DDoS attacks manage to penetrate the best mitigation solutions. To address these challenges, there is a need to detect and close all DDoS vulnerabilities on going, before an attack is launched. Allowing mitigation solutions to respond in the fastest possible way with minimal manual intervention.

What is the best possible solution available right now?

DDoS RADAR™ - Detecting Open Vulnerabilities in Real Time, it analyzes the target network attack surface exactly like a hacker would. By simulating known attacks against all web facing IP’s targets without any downtime, RADAR™ detects open vulnerabilities in the target network. RADAR™ clearly identifies the attack surface risks (DDoS vulnerabilities) automatically as they are generated across live production web facing IP’s. Then it prioritizes the vulnerabilities by the number of targets found prone to, and details the nature of those vulnerabilities through   unprecedented information. This information enables proper mitigation and remediation setup. Once the remediation is completed RADAR™ validates the remediated vulnerabilities ensuring the remediation process was successful.

Benefits of DDoS RADAR™ for Governments

1. Operational Continuity 

DDoS tests are designed to identify basic vulnerabilities in DDoS mitigation posture and are run without disruption to government websites. This ensures that government sites will continue to always function normally, irrespective of whether there are elections or political upheavals.

2. Data-driven protection

Reports are generated representing the number of connections per second sent by MazeBolt's simulation cloud, with the corresponding number of connections per second that bypassed the current DDoS defenses. These reports empower the IT personnel to remediate the vulnerability gaps in real-time and reduce risk of DDoS attacks at all times.

3. Security at all times

RADAR™ highlights the most important DDoS vulnerabilities in the mitigation apparatus and/or architecture, allowing security personnel to make the least amount of changes. At the same time making the biggest impact in strengthening the IT infrastructure against DDoS attacks. Since it works continuously and non-disruptively, government sites are always available irrespective of the political changes or upheavals that could be taking place. 

4. Reduce the workload of in-house IT staff

As a result of the inherent weakness in existing mitigation solutions, the IT staff are pulled into action after an attack has occurred. This results in the staff being taken away from their regular activities to identify and mitigate DDoS attacks. Since RADAR™ prevents attacks, the workload of mitigating attacks is non-existent. IT teams are spared from sudden, stressful mitigation activities and can continue to focus on their day-to-day activities.

Schedule a Demo: See How DDoS RADAR Works

About MazeBolt

MazeBolt Technologies is an innovation leader in cybersecurity and part of the DDoS mitigation space. Offering full DDoS risk detection and elimination and working with any mitigation system to provide end to end full coverage. Supporting organizations in avoiding downtime and closing DDoS vulnerabilities before an attack happens.