War, Religion, and Politics: A Battleground for DDoS

DDoS attacks with sociopolitical roots have been a fact of life on the internet since the early 2000s. Disputes relating to politics, religion, and ideology often have been accompanied by—and increasingly are centered around—attack campaigns intended to disrupt the online operations and communications capabilities of governments, companies, communities of interest, and individuals.

It’s easy to see how these events bleed into the cyberworld by examining DDoS attacks in EMEA as various conflicts and geopolitical decisions were taking place during 1H 2022. The chart below shows several examples of this phenomenon. First, attacks ramped up against Ukrainian assets just prior to and after Russia launched ground troops. Then we see a decline in attacks against Ukrainian assets as infrastructure is destroyed or moved out of Ukraine; meanwhile, there’s a significant increase in attacks against Ireland, where much of those Ukrainian assets were moved. Likewise, we see a surge of retaliatory attacks against Russia—attacks that go all the way back to 2021 beginning with national elections and early discussions of invading Ukraine. Finally, the trend line shows a massive increase in attacks against Finland after that country’s announcement that it would join NATO. Taken as a whole, there’s no question that attack frequency is closely tied to sociopolitical events on the world stage.

DDoS Activity from Geopolitical Events

Although these four countries received the brunt of attacks in relation to the Russia/Ukraine conflict, many other countries experienced surges in DDoS attacks from ongoing military conflict, political events, and even entertainment events taking place around the world.

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