Press Releases

Web Hacking Incident Database Report Reveals Increase in DDoS Attacks

March 18
07:31 2011

Web Hosting NewsCHICAGO – Trustwave, a leading provider of information security and compliance solutions, has released its Web Hacking Incident Database (WHID) semiannual report, which finds an increase in distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and determined that there was a lack of properly implemented anti-automation defenses to ensure application availability during such attacks.

DDoS as an attack vector and notable trend for the second half of 2010 was successful in disrupting commerce and bringing down websites of large businesses and associations. Denial of service attacks jumped to the number one attack vector, up 22 percent, as compared to the first half of 2010.

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Based on our report, website downtime is far from the traditional intended outcome of an attack, which is typically hacking for profit. As a result, most businesses were not equipped to handle such an attack because they had not tested, nor properly implemented, anti-automation defenses for their Web application architecture.

Our study found that most businesses wrongly assume that network hardware will stop DDoS attacks, or believe their website will not be targeted by such attacks. But the increase in this attack vector proves that businesses, both large and small, should test their website limitations to better understand how their applications will respond to such an attack. As the paradigm shifts from attacking the network to attacking the application, Web application firewalls can help businesses monitor application performance metrics.

To help specific markets better understand their respective security threats, the report also analyzes top outcomes, attack methods and weaknesses for several vertical markets for 2010. Attacks against Government agencies resulted in defacement in 26% of attacks, while the finance sector experienced monetary loss in 64% of attacks and retail was most affected by credit card leakage at 27%. The percentages below indicate the top attack method, application weakness and outcome for each listed vertical.

Outcome – Defacement (26%)
Attack Method – SQL Injection (24%)
Application Weakness – Improper Input Handling (26%)

Outcome – Monetary Loss (64%)
Attack Method – Stolen Credentials (36%)
Application Weakness – Insufficient Authentication (59%)

Outcome – Credit Card Leakage (27%)
Attack Method – SQL Injection (27%)
Application Weakness – Improper Input Handling (27%)

“The WHID helps businesses better understand the potential business and technological impact of an attack,” said Robert J. McCullen, chairman and CEO of Trustwave. “Such research enables informed and accurate decisions to protect and secure online commerce.”

“Cybercriminals never stop trying to exploit Web applications,” said Nicholas J. Percoco, senior vice president and head of SpiderLabs. “By aggregating the information in the WHID, we’re educating businesses with the latest trends regarding online threats to businesses.”

To download a copy of Trustwave’s WHID Report, or to join Trustwave for a webinar that looks at the WHID report and identifies trends, statistics and how to defend against such attacks on April 21, 2011, please visit us at

About The Web Hacking Incident Database

The WHID is the result of a project dedicated to maintaining a database of Web application-related security incidents. The report analyzes the business impact of Web application security attacks, reviewing and compiling data from July through December, 2010. The report was compiled by SpiderLabs, the advanced security team at Trustwave responsible for application security, incident response, penetration testing, physical security and security research.

Unlike other resources covering Web site security, which focus on the technical aspect of the incident, WHID focuses on the impact of the attack. To be included in WHID, an incident must be publicly reported, be associated with Web application security vulnerabilities and have an identified outcome. Since the criteria for WHID is restrictive by definition, the number of incidents included is not very large; only 222 incidents made it to the database for 2010. WHID is a project of the Web Application Security Consortium (WASC), and led by SpiderLabs researcher Ryan Barnett.

About Trustwave
Trustwave is the leading provider of on-demand and subscription-based information security and payment card industry compliance management solutions to businesses and government entities throughout the world. For organizations faced with today’s challenging data security and compliance environment, Trustwave provides a unique approach with comprehensive solutions that include its flagship TrustKeeper® compliance management software and other proprietary security solutions including SIEM, EV SSL certificates and secure digital certificates. Trustwave has helped thousands of organizations-ranging from Fortune 500 businesses and large financial institutions to small and medium-sized retailers-manage compliance and secure their network infrastructure, data communications and critical information assets. Trustwave is headquartered in Chicago with offices throughout North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.

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