Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks against Hong Kong websites increased a whopping 111% from September to October as pro-democracy protests in the Special Administrative Region of China took hold.
The DDoS mitigation firm’s Security Engineering and Response Team (ASERT) consulted anonymized data generated by its ATLAS network of 290 ISPs worldwide running Arbor products.
It found that observed attacks against Hong Kong-related online properties jumped from 1,688 in September this year to 3,565 in October. ASERT threat intelligence and response manager, Kirk Soluk, explained in a blog post that while establishing definitive causal relationships and attribution is tricky, DDoS attacks appear to have become the “new normal” in countries experiencing political unrest.
These online media outlets included most notably Next Media, run by outspoken Beijing critic Jimmy Lai, and its popular Apple Daily publication. In this case the large DDoS on its site coincided with reports of anti-protest crowds physically trying to prevent distribution of the Apple Daily newspaper and of a simultaneous cyber-attack which took the company’s email system out for hours.
As for the future, Arbor is predicting that November is already shaping up to be another big month for DDoS attacks in Hong Kong, as the protesters continue their campaign for true democracy in the former British colony. The firm said it recorded peak DDoS sizes of 30Gb/s on four consecutive days this month, for example.