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If it seems like there have been more hacks than normal, you’re right. There’s been an increase in cybercriminal activity, even as reports showcase that the average hacker barely makes a minimum wage. According to the State of the Internet Report just released, which analyzes company threat data, it’s not just the number of attacks that’s interesting but where they’re coming from. Look at cyber-threat related news and it’s clear: hackers are everywhere. Last summer, New York Magazine became a victim of Vikingdom, a hacker group that says they chose the magazine simply because they didn’t like Manhattan.

The PlayStation Network and Xbox Live hack of December included a threat to shut down both gaming platforms for good, simply because the companies didn’t optimize their security when they “should have.” Gaining a more demanding environment should often come with security upgrades, such as swapping a virtual private server host for a dedicated option. True, that last threat was never made good on, but there’s still time. It’s also indicative of an overall trend that’s sweeping the nation: Hackers are flexing their skills like never before.


Details in the Data


The report, generated by Akamai, points out that 54 percent of DDoS attacks in the last quarter of 2015 largely went after gaming companies. DDoS attacks are some of the most common in the cyberworld. Additionally, 23 percent of these attacks targeted tech/software industries, specifically those in retail. In fact, retail companies made up almost 59 percent of these attacks. There’s no mention of why retail entities are so popular, but it may be because credit card data is so easily exchanged here.


One of the most recent online ISIS threats, which went after Jack Dorsey and Mark Zuckerberg, also fascinated the researchers. According to Akamai senior VP and GM Stuart Scholly, “The threat from DDoS and web application attacks isn’t going away. Each quarter, the number of attacks against Akamai customers continues to surge…and malicious actors aren’t backing down. They’re hammering away at the same targets over and over again, looking for a moment when defenses may be down.


A Brighter Future?


Google still has high hopes, just revealing Project Shield which is designed to stop hackers who favor DDoS attacks. Right now, it’s being analyzed on human rights sites, and the approach turns Google into a web host. When Google spots a DDoS attack, an autopilot infrastructure starts working before the attack can go full-fledged. There’s no word on whether any companies have formally requested Project Shield, or just how effective it is at stopping attacks. However, given the rise of hacks and attacks, it’s likely that at least some faithful Google followers will trust the giant with their site.


Most attacks, DDoS or not, ultimately don’t make headlines and that’s often at the request of the company. Advertising a hack is like advertising your weaknesses, and many headlines are dragged out by journalist. It’s likely that 2016 will continue to see a rise in breaches.



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