HACKERS' CHOICE, the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, is becoming a more powerful weapon, according to security researchers.
Kaspersky Lab has been studying DDoS attacks and found that in 2011 they increased in power over the course of the year.
The most powerful attack of the year, which came in the second half, clocked in at 600Mbit/sec, while the average strength for the six months was 110Mbit/sec, an increase of 57 per cent from the first half.
Although there are some obvious sources for DDoS attacks, such as Anonymous for example, which has campaigned against Paypal amongst other things, Kaspersky said that businesses are using them too.
The firm said that online trade is most often targeted, with 25 per cent of attacks. By comparison, government web sites, which are often attacked by Anonymous, account for just two per cent of attacks. However, Kaspersky Lab added that this is rising.
Holiday web sites seem to be the most likely to be attacked, and are attacked during holiday seasons. Kaspersky said that this is a tough and competitive industry and one where rivals might try to harm each other's web sites. Other interesting asides include the suggestion that taxi booking and printer services are also rife for DDoSing.
"The second half of the year saw a dramatic rise in the number of attacks on sites offering taxi bookings or printer cartridge refilling services. These services were also advertised with the help of mass mailing," said the firm.
"It seems that companies ordering such mass mailings have connections with the bot masters and may well be the ones ordering DDoS attacks that target the sites of their competitors."
The most popular method of attack is the HTTP Flood, where web sites are literally flooded with requests. New methods are appearing though, including one that makes the most of Google Plus and the search firm's servers to launch an attack.
Russia, Ukraine, Thailand and Malaysia are the biggest sources of attacks and are accountable for 16 per cent, 12 per cent, 7 per cent and 6 per cent, respectively. However, in the first half of the year the US lead the tables. µ