Government official: DDoS attacks 'do not lose companies any business'

By Sooraj Shah
03 Dec 2012 View Comments
Cyber crime key on keyboard

A senior government official has claimed that distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks "do not lose companies any business".

In a briefing on Friday, the official – who is associated with the UK cyber strategy, but refused to be named – claimed that a major trend the government had seen in the past 12 months was the number of distributed denial of services (DDoS) attacks.

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He gave an example of global sports brand Adidas, who have seen such an increase in the attacks that they deal with it as part of "their daily routine".

He then said that DDoS attacks were "just an inconvenience" and do "not lose [companies] any business".

This statement runs contrary to the views of many experts in both the security and broader technology sector.

John Roberts, head of managed services at MSP Redstone, told Computing in June that companies who were reliant on their websites to sell products would incur major losses if they were hit by a DDoS attack.

"If a betting organisation trades £600m a year – or £2m a day in revenue terms – and 50 per cent of that comes from the web, then they are losing £1m a day." Any web-dependent organisation within the global 1,000 might incur similar losses, he added.

This is in addition to the costs associated with making the attack stop – which could cost thousands of pounds – and any reputational damage the firm incurs.

Another problem that victims could be exposed to is if the DDoS attack is used as a decoy for a backdoor-style assault in which an organisation's data could be acquired, for example.

The government official went on to say that the government was still worried about the same "things and people as a year ago", although he stated that its £650m cyber strategy had allowed it to understand more about incoming threats.

"There is a rise in hacktivist-style attacks, which are more sophisticated," he said.

But government officials were tight lipped when it came to attributing any attacks to specific nation states, or revealing the numbers of those attacks, but did admit that cyber attacks had become more common.

The Ministry of Defence, for example, gets attacked persistently, but officials said that the MoD expects this and is prepared for it.

Similarly prepared are private sector owners of critical national infrastructure, the officials said.

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