Hackers have launched a new wave of massive DDoS attacks, leveraging a new botnet, which could possibly rival the prolific Mirai botnet in the coming days. Security researchers have uncovered a new DDoS botnet, which was involved in a 10-day long barrage of attacks, primarily targeting the US west coast.
The yet to be named botnet's activities were first discovered by security researchers on Thanksgiving eve (23 November). The hacker/hackers behind the botnet went at it for almost eight and a half hours non-stop, bombarding unspecified targets with a stream of junk traffic, according to security firm Cloudflare. Researchers noted that the attackers kept to the routine, delivering an almost identical barrage of attacks at roughly the same time, for the rest of the week.
Cloudflare researchers said the hackers, "just kept this up day after day. Right through Thanksgiving, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and into this week. Night after night attacks were peaking at 400Gbps and hitting 320Gbps for hours on end."
On 29 November, the hackers changed direction and renewed attacks. Researchers said the hackers "stopped taking the night off and moved onto working 24 hours a day."
The discovery of the new botnet comes amid growing concerns about rapidly propagating IoT botnets popping up in the wild. Since the public release of Mirai's source code, cybercriminals have taken to amassing their own Mirai-powered botnet armies to launch widespread DDoS attacks targeting victims across the globe.
Researchers at Kaspersky Lab believe that hackers sometimes use DDoS attacks as a "decoy" while surreptitiously conducting other kinds of cybercrime, such as stealing sensitive data. Given that DDoS attacks demand significant attention in terms of mitigation, this technique would likely be ideal for hackers targeting businesses, to obtain sensitive and confidential user and employee data. Alarmingly, the rise of DDoS attacks is expected to escalate well into 2017.