DDoS Threat Intelligence Report

Geopolitical and Technology Impact in DDoS

Everything from vectors to infrastructure and methodology play a part in the remaining analysis contained in our report as we examine how geopolitical influences continue to play a dominant role in the DDoS threat landscape—followed closely by changes in the technology arena.

Geopolitics in the Cyber Arena

Last year in our threat report and in several blogs published since, we detailed the presence of DDoS attacks related to ongoing geopolitical and ideological conflicts. Specifically, we know that pro-Russian aligned hacktivists targeted Finland in its bid to join NATO. These attacks had ramifications for Turkey and Hungary as the two countries finally approved Finland’s application. Fast-forward to June 2023, and Sweden is on the verge of joining NATO amidst a significant rise in DDoS attacks coinciding with major political dynamics.

Swedish Victim

Sweden Flag

On May 3, it was reported that the Swedish parliament website had been the target of a highly disruptive DDoS attack. Sure enough, our global visibility revealed a significant increase in attacks against the country coinciding with the timeline played out in the political theater.

These attacks culminated with a DDoS attack of more than 500Gbps before finally subsiding in June to a more usual daily attack frequency. It is expected that DDoS attacks targeting Sweden will increase yet again as the ratification of Sweden’s bid to join NATO progresses through the political process.

Wireless Advancements Impacts DDoS Landscape

In the first half of 2023, NETSCOUT observed a sharp increase in DDoS attacks against multiple wireless telecommunications providers in APAC. This is a global trend we observed at the end of 2022, with a 79 percent increase in attacks targeted at wireless telecommunications providers. This trend isn’t surprising, given the number of commercial 5G networks being deployed globally. According to Analysis Mason’s 5G deployment tracker report, there were more than 16 5G networks already deployed or set to launch in 2023. Although we cannot confirm all these networks were deployed, at least one service provider in the region expanded significant 5G offerings accounting for much of the increase in 2023. The root cause of this shift is almost certainly tied to many former broadband access users moving to 5G fixed wireless access, including gamers shifting their network access. Historically, most attacks in service provider networks have correlated back to gaming in some fashion, prompting a shift in this attack activity to the wireless space.