Protect Your Online Presence: Understanding the Connection Between DDoS Attacks and Other Cyber Threats

  • Lisa Fröhlich
  • May 11, 2023

Table of content

    Protect Your Online Presence: Understanding the Connection Between DDoS Attacks and Other Cyber Threats

    Cyber threats cause major problems for individuals and businesses in the digital age. These multiple threats can mean financial losses, cause reputational damage, or compromise sensitive data.  

    Some cyber threats, such as “credential stuffing” or “spambot spamming,” can result in consequences that are equally associated with Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.  

    Even legal methods such as web scraping can have similar consequences to a DDoS attack. That’s why it’s worth taking a closer look at the legal and illegal use cases and their consequences. 

    The fine line when “web scraping” becomes illegal 

    “Web scraping” is a common legal practice when publicly available information is extracted from websites or online services and used for various purposes, such as empirical research, without the need to overcome technical protections. 

    The data is extracted from websites and converted into another form. Thus, companies can automatically browse their competitors’ web stores and analyze their prices and product information.  

    In addition, data from social media portals such as Facebook or LinkedIn can also be collected through web scraping. This is also legal if one follows the valid legal regulations of the different social media channels. However, at the same time, the data collected in this way can be very easily abused and used in fraudulent phishing attacks. 

    Web scraping can make you a lawbreaker and financially liable for the damages in the following cases:  

    (1) when unauthorized data or private contact information is accessed. The GDPR and other data protection laws have clear guidelines here.   

    (2) the speed at which the data is “scraped” from the website is too high. The web server can become overloaded if the data query takes place at too high a speed. If, in addition, the queries are distributed over several proxy servers, the website can also be paralyzed. In this way, legal data retrieval turns into a harmful DDoS attack, which can lead to a complete server crash in the worst case.  

    Login attempts with bots – how “credential stuffing” brings websites to their knees

    In “credential stuffing,” hackers try to access other online services with stolen, leaked, or darknet-purchased login credentials, the “credentials.” This technique is very effective because many users use the same credentials for several online portals with the same usernames and passwords.

    According to specialists, about 24 billion login combinations are offered on the Darknet. As a result, it is hardly surprising that around every thousandth login attempt is successful.  

    In addition to the login data, a list of popular online services, or social media channels, cybercriminals primarily use “bots.” These fully acting computer programs take over the numerous login attempts on various websites.  

    Hackers usually systematically change their sender IP address through IP rotation, i.e., IP addresses are assigned to a device randomly or at regular intervals. As a result, credential attempts are usually not detected as malicious attacks by the target server. 

    Although the intent of credential stuffing attacks is significantly different from the purpose of DDoS attacks, there is a connection between these two cyber threats. This is because load balancers, firewalls, and other security solutions can falter in the face of numerous artificially generated login attempts.

    Such performance problems, such as online applications becoming slow or unavailable, can be caused by a faulty bot and a DDoS attack. 

    Form spam and its pitfalls 

    Every Internet user knows them, and every cybercriminal exploits them: Contact forms. Although they can be used manually, form spam usually involves specially programmed spam bots. They are used to make unwanted or fraudulent entries in online forms, resulting in spam messages or fake registrations. In addition, forms are gateways for phishing attacks, data theft, or malware infiltration.  

    DDoS attacks target websites and other online services by overloading them with excessive traffic, making them unavailable. In some cases, form spam and DDoS attacks can be used together in coordinated attacks to achieve maximum disruption and steal the greatest amount of information possible.  

    For example, a cybercriminal can use a DDoS attack to distract a website’s security systems, allowing them to slip in undetected and launch a spam attack. To protect against form spam, organizations can set up spam filters, monitor submissions, implement security measures such as captchas, and report such incidents to the appropriate authorities. 

    Skewing – how manipulated data can become a problem 

    “Skewing” is a cyberattack in which data is intentionally manipulated to produce distorted or misleading results. The two most common attack variants are skewing web analytics data from platforms like Google Analytics and attacking machine learning data 

    As is often the case, bots are also used to manipulate the analytics data. For example, these drive visitors to a particular website with automated HTTP requests or manipulate the clicks for a particular product.  

    If such an attack is launched on a web store page, the analysis tools register many clicks, and incorrect conclusions could be drawn. Furthermore, possible business decisions are linked depending on how the artificially inflated data is interpreted and used, such as an additional advertising campaign for a supposedly high-demand product. 

    Data, nothing but data – why Link11 DDoS protection keeps you one step ahead 

    Artificial intelligence in the form of machine learning and its associated algorithms is now almost everywhere. For example, many security systems like Link11 use machine learning to analyze real-time incoming traffic. The algorithms rely on large amounts of data to learn and make predictions.  

    Skewing can pose a significant threat to AI-based DDoS protection systems, as skewed data can lead to incorrect decisions and misidentification of DDoS attacks. It is, therefore, more important to keep the algorithms permanently updated, validate the data regularly, and control the data quality regularly.  

    The AI-based, patented, and automated Link11 DDoS protection has been trained with a large amount of data for over ten years. Link11 relies on self-learning artificial intelligence that stores and analyzes all attack attempts in a sequence database. Similar threat patterns can be detected and responded to in real-time.  

    The data quality is regularly checked, and new attack patterns further train the database. This means that the advanced Link11 technology is always up to date. Protected companies benefit from this, as they are warned of potential threats and can better protect themselves.  

    That’s why it’s important to stay informed. Reach out to our experts anytime to proactively secure your online applications and systems with the right protection measures. 

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