Governments must seek to protect their digital borders just as much as their national ones. Online presence creates an additional attack surface that can be used in coordinated attacks, such as Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks.
According to the data of Atlas VPN, the volume of DDoS attacks per customer aimed at the government sector soared by a whopping 1,881 per cent in 2021 when compared to 2020’s figures.
Meanwhile, the actual attack events decreased by 70 per cent, suggesting fewer but more severe DDoS attacks aimed at the sector.
DDoS is a common form of cyberattack with a goal to make an online website or service unavailable by overwhelming it with a flood of internet traffic.
Malicious actors use DDoS attacks to disrupt government communication and limit information in an effort to decapitate governments. DDoS attacks are also used by hacktivists as part of political protests.
The figures are based on Radware‘s 2021 to 2022 ‘Threat Analysis‘ report, which reviews the year’s most important cybersecurity events and provides detailed insights into the attack activity of 2021.
DDoS attacks, however, were not limited to the government sector last year. The volume of DDoS attacks per customer aimed at the retail industry skyrocketed by 6,288 per cent.
Next up was the healthcare sector. It experienced a 260 per cent growth in DDoS attack volume per customer.
The research and education sector occupies fourth place on the list with a 62 per cent rise in DDoS attack volume in 2021, followed by online commerce and gaming with 41 per cent. Meanwhile, the technology sector saw a 36 per cent increase in DDoS attack volume per customer last year.
While the volume of DDoS attacks grew across most industries last year, finance and telecom sectors experienced a decrease. DDoS attack volume plummeted by 34 per cent and 58 per cent, respectively, across the aforementioned industries.
Overall, the average attack volume per customer rose by 26 per cent.
The government sector more prepared to mitigate DDoS attack risks
Despite rising DDoS attacks volume, the government sector handles cyberattacks more effectively than before.
In 2021, the government sector mitigated more than ten times the volume of attacks compared to 2020. In 2020, the blocked volume of DDoS attacks aimed at the sector stood at 1.22 per cent. Meanwhile, in 2021 the number rose by 12.08 per cent to 13.3 per cent, making the government the top third sector with the highest volume of blocked DDoS attacks in 2021.
However, the retail industry had the largest spike in mitigated DDoS attack volume and the second biggest volume of blocked attacks last year. In 2021, the volume increased by 20.89 per cent from 0.61 to 21.5 per cent.
In addition to government and retail, the volume of blocked DDoS attacks aimed at the healthcare industry grew by 5.98 per cent, from 6.12 in 2020 to 12.1 per cent in 2021.
The rest of the top attacked industries experienced a decrease in the volume of blocked DDoS attacks last year compared to the year before.
Telecom saw a 17.93 per cent plunge from 23.4 in 2020 to 5.47 per cent in 2021, finance had a 10.81 per cent decline from 17 to 6.19 per cent, meanwhile, online commerce and gaming had a 6.4 per cent fall from 28.7 to 22.3 per cent. However, even with the drop, the sector experienced the highest volume of DDoS attacks out of all in 2021.
Other industries with declining DDoS attack volume include technology with a 2.8 per cent drop and research and education with a 0.63 per cent decrease.