Network-Layer DDoS Attack Trends for Q4’20

DDoS attack trends in the final quarter of 2020 defied norms in many ways. For the first time in 2020, Cloudflare observed an increase in the number of large DDoS attacks. Specifically, the number of large attacks over 500Mbps and 50K pps saw a massive uptick.

In addition, attack vectorscontinued to evolve, with protocol-based attacks seeing a 3-10x increase compared to the prior quarter. Attackers were also more persistent than ever — nearly 9% of all attacks observed between October and December lasted more than 24 hours.

Below are other noteworthy observations from the fourth quarter of 2020.

  • Number of attacks: For the first time in 2020, the total number of attacks observed in Q4 decreased compared to the prior quarter.
  • Attack duration: 73% of all attacks observed lasted under an hour, a decrease from 88% in Q3.
  • Attack vectors: While SYN, ACK, and RST floods continued to be the dominant attack vectors deployed, attacks over NetBIOS saw a whopping 5400% increase, followed by those over ISAKMP and SPSS.
  • Global DDoS activity: Our data centers in Mauritius, Romania, and Brunei recorded the highest percentages of attack traffic relative to non-attack traffic.
  • Ransom DDoS attacks: Ransom DDoS (RDDoS) attacks continued to target organizations around the world.

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