Further to my previous posts on DDoS attacks (and particularly the recent Spamhaus attack), we thought that Infosec 2013 would offer the perfect audience from which to gauge whether businesses are prepared for and even understand what I predict will be the biggest threat to enterprises this year.

I have to say, I’m quite surprised at the results. 

Only 10 per cent of the security professionals we surveyed could describe accurately how DNS reflection attacks work, and only 11 per cent would be completely confident that the day-to-day operations of their business would not be disrupted, should they be hit by such an attack. Interestingly, 83 per cent of respondents revealed they are less than fully confident that their organisation has consistent security and availability policies across their entire IT infrastructure.

And yet there are a number of concerns associated with suffering a DDoS attack. 22% of respondents highlighted reputational damage as a top concern, with 20% worrying about the impact on customers and 16% on data loss. More than one in 10 respondents picked out revenue loss as one of their top three concerns.

The results speak for themselves, but businesses need to take note and prioritise security or run the risk of allowing cyber criminals to access data or hacktivists to target them with DDoS attacks. 

Businesses need to react to the threat of DDoS attacks and particularly DNS reflection attacks. It’s crucial that we get on the front foot when it comes to tackling cyber crime and try to limit the damage. Both the scale and the method of the Spamhaus attacks should have acted as a wake-up call, but the research suggests that many security professionals would still struggle to deal effectively with these new breed of DDoS attacks, despite fearing the impact of data loss, reputational damage and the impact on their customers.

As organisations continue to move their applications to the cloud as a way to increase infrastructure agility and reduce costs, it’s vital that they close off any back doors to would-be attackers. Conventional firewalls are failing in the face of increasingly complex internet threats; more intelligence has to be built into corporate network and to ensure their security can handle the newest threats. This includes being able to seamlessly configure and automate security to ensure the entire IT environment is protected, regardless of the mix of on-premise, cloud or hybrid infrastructures.