Why Are DDoS Attacks A Threat To Governments Around The World?

DDoS attacks on numerous state governments around the world are still making headlines within a previous couple of years. This has made them a threat to the national security of many countries around the globe and has also become part of the national security agendas of most in terms of threats to tackle.

With the growth in both digital and cloud technologies, the internet has become another battlefield of the large scale in terms of launching DDoS attacks that are able to cripple services and paralyze communications not just across companies but across countries and continents.

For which reasons are DDoS attacks considered threats to state bodies and institutions?

Here are key reasons why DDoS attacks are targeting Government Institutions numerous times:

Political upheavals

In all honesty, DDoS attacks are known to be among the most visible and disruptive of cyber attacks in causing political disruptions. It was on July 16 last year that the Russian Defense Ministry’s website was knocked down. The attack was claimed to be an act by a foreign entity. In a similar fashion, Ukraine’s Defense ministry’s website was also attacked using DDoS bots.

DDoS attacks can often be seen during elections. In all honesty, politically motivated attacks are aimed at registering disaffection with certain actions. Before and during the 2020 U.S Presidential election, political campaigns experienced, on average, 4,949 cyber-threats daily, and larger campaigns faced more attacks.

Certain ideological beliefs are also to blame for the rising surge of DDoS attacks

Hackers are quite motivated to attack political targets due to their ideological beliefs against policies of governments, nation-states, and vice versa. This kind of motivation became an influential reason behind numerous DDoS attacks. 

It was in January 2019 that the Zimbabwean government and its state bodies were hit by a DDoS attack by hacktivist groups who were protesting against internet censorship in the African country. Karapatan, a rights group in the Philippines suffered heavy and sustained DDoS attacks proxied by utilizing at least 30,000 bots using a variety of devices.

Cyber Warfare

It was on September 14 last year that New Zealand was targeted by a series of DDoS attacks which continued for a week and targeted fundamental services like the Meteorological Service, Inland Revenue Department, and postal services.

In a similar fashion, the Republic of Ireland faced a larger attack, a ransomware attack which was followed by more state-sponsored attacks coming from third-world countries. In 2020, DDoS attacks targeted business and state bodies in Australia, and the attacks were described as state-sponsored attacks coming from countries and entities which oppose Australia.

Ulterior Motives

Historical data indicates the fact that for hackers, large-scale events are an invitation for carrying out DDoS attacks. The US department of health and human services was hit in 2020 by a DDoS attack as it was scrambling to give citizens information and core services for the COVID-19 pandemic. The attack was a failure, and the impact was never overlooked.

Had the HHS system been down, a myriad of fake websites, disinformation activities and other bad activities would have been carried out. A Truckload of data from network systems could have been stolen. 

DDoS attacks on governments can hurt and even paralyze daily operations. The Netherlands Ministry of Health was down on September 25, 2020, especially its COVID-19 check system. It resulted in freezing QR codes which the government deemed necessary for help

For the sake of Extortion

Hackers have indulged numerous times in attacks aimed at cyber extortion meaning demanding ransom in the form of online money transfers or Bitcoin. The hackers demanded ransom-threatening data exposure or longer downtime periods. 

It was on May 14 last year that the Health Service Executive (HSE) of the Republic of Ireland went down. Reports emerged that DDoS attacks were the forerunner of an impending ransomware attack on a larger scale.

What do governments do in mitigating these attacks?

Experts providing DDoS Protection in the USA and Canada involved in cyber security research reveal that governments often install web service applications on numerous independent servers based across the world. They are still at risk of getting hacked but the whole chain would never go down. Alternatively, they can avail the services of independent DDoS Proxy Protection service providers. However, this option can involve a certain degree of latency and some points of failure.

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