The general consensus up to this point has been that when hackers commit a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, they were taking down networks and system as a way to get attention. It turns out that is actually true, but not for the reasons people originally thought. Apparently, while a business is busy handling the DDoS attack, the hackers are using it as a smokescreen to cover other types of attacks.
The findings were released by Kaspersky Labs in a report polling businesses on their past cybersecurity issues. Over half of businesses said a DDoS attack was used as a distraction for something else with 29% saying it was only part of a larger attack and another quarter saying they lost data as a result.
It appears that hackers have learned that a DDoS is a great way to keep an IT team busy. While IT resources are distracted with trying to fix the problem, hackers can use it to cover intrusions using other vectors like social engineering and spear phishing.
The best way for businesses and organizations to prepare for this type of DDoS attack is to train their employees to be able to recognize social engineering attacks and phishing emails. It’s also a good idea for everyone to be running the latest version of their operating system and that their anti-malware software is up to date. Every organization should have their email gateways scan and block any malicious code it comes across. Finally, don’t download anything from or click on a link in a message from an email address you don’t recognize.