DDoS Attack Trends in 2021

Top DDoS Attack Trends to Look Out for in 2021 

As digital technologies are getting increasingly adopted across the globe, vulnerabilities such as ransomware, phishing and whaling, and DDoS attacks due to cybersecurity breaches are also occupying regular headlines and such attacks are trending quarter by quarter. 

In this blog, we will take a closer look at the menace that DDoS attacks are causing to internet infrastructure across the globe.

DDoS Attacks at a Glimpse

A DDoS attack, also sometimes known as Distributed Network Attacks, sends multiple requests to the web resource that it attacks quickly. The result of this is that the web resource becomes overwhelmed and stops responding to legitimate requests. 

DDoS attacks that stand for Distributed Denial of Service attacks have become more nefarious. They are wreaking havoc with critical computing infrastructure across the globe at an increasing frequency than ever before. 

The Most Famous DDoS Attacks  

In recent times, the most high-profile cyberattack case has been the attack on one of the world’s largest petroleum pipeline operators in May 2021. Colonial Pipeline operates a massive network of pipelines, carrying gasoline and jet fuel from Texas to as far away as New York and other locations on the East Coast in the United States. 

Hackers were able to gain access into the company’s network using a virtual private network and accessing one of the ex-employee’s passwords on the Dark Web. By using just a single compromised login ID, the hackers were able to compromise the computerized control systems. 

This forced Colonial Pipeline to completely halt its services for the first time in 57 years. The colonial pipeline received a ransom demand. The hackers stole 100s of gigabytes of sensitive data and threatened to leak it if the company did not pay it a ransom. 

As a result of the company shutting down its operations temporarily, filling stations ran empty, which created long lines and panic buying. The governor of Georgia province had to declare a state of emergency. Ultimately, the Colonial Pipeline company gave in to the demand and paid the hackers 75 Bitcoins, amounting to USD 4.4 million. 

This high-profile case highlights the extreme vulnerability that lurks within our digital infrastructures and the need for DDoS protection and DDoS mitigation. Such ransomware attacks, if utilized by terrorists and anti-government forces, have the potential to take governance and private operations hostage, and consequently they are becoming important policy points for governments across the globe. 

In May, another DDoS attack brought down the servers of Belnet, an Internet Service Provider for public institutions in Belgium. As a result, websites of 200 among the major research institutions, parliaments, etc. in the country went down. 

The Future of DDoS Attacks

Global internet usage has surged due to the coronavirus induced pandemic and more and more company and government processes are getting digitized. Storing and accessing all this information over the internet will inadvertently expose the system to critical vulnerabilities. 

USA remains the country that witnesses the most attacks and these attacks and their severe economic impacts have rattled the American administration as well. Biden has pushed this as a priority within his administration and has made it clear that he will step up the efforts to enhance cybersecurity within the public and private spheres in the USA. Other countries are similarly following suit. 

As more and more business operations are getting digitized, even a less sinister DDoS attack that creates website downtime can result in revenue loss, negative SEO impact, brand credibility, and user experience and engagement metrics. All of these can be very disastrous for your business that relies on digital 24*7.

According to Microsoft, the first half of 2021 itself saw a spike in DDoS attacks every day on their Azure DNS servers. Compared to 2020 Q4, the average daily number of attack mitigations in the first half of 2021 rose by 25 percent, while the average size of DDoS attacks increased by 30%. 

Microsoft also reported that 74% of all attacks on its servers were 30 minutes or less, and around 90% lasted for less than 1 hour. North America accounts for the largest share of attacks (59%), followed by Europe (19%) and East Asia. Most DDoS attacks also originated from the USA (29%), followed by China (28%), and Russia ( 3%). 

A few other trends are below (source: f5.com) :

  1. Between January 2020 and March 2021, DDoS attacks witnessed an increase of 55%, and are becoming more complex 
  2. DDoS attacks are becoming more complex, as 54% of such attacks over the same time period utilized multiple attack vectors to paralyze networking servers
  3. Digital companies continue to remain the most targeted and they alone received 27% of all such DDoS attacks.
  4. Volumetric DDoS attacks were 73% of all incidents, while application DDoS accounted for 16% of all DDoS incidents. Volumetric DDoS attacks are designed in such a way that the network quickly gets flooded by huge traffic generated by the attacker. This can consume all the available bandwidth and bring the servers down. This type of DDoS attacks are most common. The application DDoS attacks the origin server to consume its resources, making it strained and slow when responding to legitimate user requests.  

Launching DDoS attacks today has become cheap and easy, and therefore every industry needs to have the necessary guardrails in place in order to deal with these threats effectively. Compiled findings from q2 show that a CDN or Content Delivery Network can often act as a helpful framework to protect against and mitigate damage from a DDoS attack. 


As the bitrate attacks are trending, a CDN works by caching the website or application content to several geographically distributed and strategically located servers across the globe. This architecture can be beneficial during a DDoS attack, since the CDN will redirect the traffic flood to the cache servers – thus safeguarding your origin server and enabling them to serve the users regularly.

Medianova provides global CDN solutions and cloud platforms, and we are experienced in streaming, encoding, caching, micro caching, hybrid CDN, and website acceleration. With its footprint in 21 countries and 100% SSD-powered anycast network, Medianova is one of the fastest HTTPS secure CDNs in Europe and the Middle East based on Cedexis.

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