Joon Ian Wong | Quartz | February 16, 2017 | 0 Comments

Blame the US, Not China, For Recent Surge in Massive Cyberattacks

Mikko Lemola/Shutterstock.com

The internet’s new scourge is hugely damaging global attacks that harness armies of routers, cameras and other connected gadgets—the so-called internet of things—to direct floods of traffic that can take down swaths of the network.

The blame so far has largely fallen on the Chinese manufacturers who churn out devices with shoddy security on the cheap. But all those devices have to be plugged in somewhere for them to used maliciously. And American consumers are increasingly the ones plugging them in.

Nearly a quarter of the internet addresses behind these distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, attacks are located in the United States, newresearch from network services firm Akamai has found. Some 180,000 US IP addresses took part in DDoS attacks in the last quarter of 2016, it found—more than four times as many as addresses originating in China.

Akamai’s findings are particularly notable because the armies of hacked devices that carry out DDoS attacks—such as those controlled by the Mirai malware—don’t bother covering their tracks. That means the IP addresses are far more likely to genuinely correspond to a location within a certain country, the report’s authors write.

The findings also end an era of Chinese dominance in DDoS attacks. Over the previous year, China has accounted for the highest proportion of IP addresses taking part in such attacks globally. Now, the U.S. is the clear leader, accounting for 24 percent of such addresses. The U.K. and Germany are a distant second and third. (To be clear, though, wherever the attacking devices’ IP addresses are, the person controlling them could be located anywhere.)

The huge number of devices taking part in DDoS attacks in the U.S. means regulation there, and in Europe, could stem the flood of damaging traffic. Of course, IoT regulation is a thorny issue—essentially, no U.S. federal agency really wants to take the problem on—and there remain technical questions over how to actually go about blocking the attacks. Still, it’s a lot clearer now that simply pointing the finger at China isn’t enough.

Comments
JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.