Cost To US Economy Of DDoS Cyber-Attacks

April 8, 2023

DDoS cyber-attacks are becoming an increasingly serious danger to the US economy. A recent study by Netscout revealed that these attacks can cost businesses up to US$218,339 per company in damages.

These attacks can result in revenue loss, increased operational expenses, reputational harm and even rising insurance premiums. Ransomware poses a particular danger as it robs businesses of their data and prevents them from accessing it until the hacker is paid.

1. Economic Impact

A DDoS attack can wreak havoc on a company’s network and data center, resulting in not only the loss of vital information that customers rely on, but also to its reputation and bottom line.

DDoS cyber-attacks are becoming an increasingly serious risk to both the US economy and worldwide. They disrupt critical online services and cause business operations to cease for weeks or even months at a time, often with devastating results.

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks use a “botnet” of infected computers that floods an intended server or network resource with requests. Similar to simple denial-of-service attacks, DDoS attacks involve multiple infected systems at once and may lead to complete system failure.

According to Forrester, the economic cost of a DDoS attack can range anywhere from several million dollars up to over $500 million. The cost depends on the size and scope of the organization targeted, how long the attack lasts and whether there are any disruptions in service.

In addition to direct costs associated with an incident and its aftermath, there are indirect expenses which cannot be quantified. For instance, a DDoS attack could lead to lost revenue from customers shifting their services elsewhere or negatively affect online sales of targeted products or services.

A DDoS cyber-attack can have a significant financial impact, which may not be fully appreciated by the company that was attacked or its board of directors. Our research revealed that in three years after an attack, average CEO stock option awards decreased by 6.6% while restricted stock grants rose by 10.4%.

DDoS cyber-attacks can have a devastating impact on companies and shareholders, particularly when perpetrated by criminals. Nevertheless, cyber-security companies are actively engaged in combatting these attacks.

Mitigating the effects of DDoS attacks is vital. Not only can these efforts prevent an attack from taking place, but they also ensure your company has enough resources to respond should one occur. Furthermore, DDoS mitigation works improve online service availability and boost operational user productivity – potentially leading to the creation of new jobs as a result.

2. Social Impact

DDoS cyber-attacks can have a far reaching social impact beyond just the business or technical consequences. They have the potential to erode community trust in government, technological systems and the internet as a whole.

DDoS attacks, for instance, have been blamed for the collapse of Ukraine’s power grid. Restoring service after an attack requires millions of dollars and disrupts a community’s capacity to conduct business.

DDoS attacks can also lead to customer churn, as affected consumers may seek alternative services or report their experiences to Google Reviews and other online channels – potentially damaging the company’s reputation.

Furthermore, DDoS cyber-attacks can negatively impact business productivity and employee morale. During an outage, employees will be forced to work harder in order to stay on top of their daily tasks and collaborate efficiently with others.

Restoring service after an outage can be expensive, but the impact on employees’ work can be far more profound. Without access to their company’s network, employees could experience lost revenue and decreased productivity – impeding delivery on goals.

Due to these effects, it is imperative to have comprehensive and scalable solutions in place to protect against DDoS cyber-attacks and be able to quickly respond when one does occur. This necessitates having visibility into all infrastructure elements as well as all inbound and outbound traffic.

Cyber-defense plans must include visibility, which CISOs use to assess and prioritize potential threats before they are detected by network security tools. Without visibility, CISOs cannot make informed decisions or act quickly enough to stop or mitigate an attack before it takes place.

DDoS cyber-attacks have become an increasingly common and significant threat for organizations of all sizes, both large and small. They can affect any system that relies on internet connectivity – from email and websites to data centers, colocation/hosting services, and the Internet of Things (IoT). No matter if a company is large multinational conglomerate or small non-profit organization, the costs to their economy can be high due to lost revenue, reduced productivity levels, customer churn, or reputation damage.

3. Environmental Impact

Due to its global reach and interdependence, the financial sector is particularly vulnerable to cyber attacks. This creates an opening that can be exploited by nation states seeking to undermine global financial stability. North Korea, for instance, has circumvented sanctions and funded its nuclear program through heists using SWIFT – a global messaging system.

A DDoS attack can have a dramatic impact on an organization’s profitability, with potential losses in revenue, customer service and operations. Direct losses include lost business from customers, decreased productivity and reduced profit margins; indirect costs may include investment in on-site DDoS protection systems, traffic monitoring facilities or scrubbing services like NaWas that require high costs to operate.

Volumetric DDoS attack vectors that threat actors can employ to escalate an attack are SYN floods (using synchronization (SYN) protocols to flood servers or web applications with malicious connections), and ICMP packet flooding (utilizing spoofed IP addresses to send large numbers of Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) packets) directly onto a victim’s network).

In addition to traditional volumetric DDoS attack vectors, there are newer, emerging types of DDoS attacks that target various systems and networks. These are commonly referred to as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks and have gained in popularity due to their ease of execution.

One such attack is Smurf DDoS, which uses spoofed IP addresses to send an excessive amount of Internet Control Message Protocol (ICMP) flooding onto a victim’s network. This can quickly exhaust their bandwidth and cause a slowdown in service delivery.

Another commonly encountered DDoS attack is a protocol-based attack, which is typically measured in packets per second (pps) or bits per second (bps). These attacks typically leverage connection requests that utilize standard protocol communications to consume compute capacity on network infrastructure resources like servers and firewalls.

DDoS cyber-attacks can have a devastating effect on organizations, both directly and indirectly. Depending on the size and complexity of an organization’s infrastructure, direct costs such as downtime and lost sales could become permanent problems for that entity.

4. Political Impact

DDoS cyber-attacks have a detrimental effect on the US economy. Infrastructure failure and its subsequent disruption can be costly for businesses, particularly those dependent on online sales or services.

Recent years, the economic toll of DDoS attacks has grown significantly. These attacks often aim to disrupt vital business operations and essential infrastructure.

These sectors include healthcare and 911 systems, the power grid and emergency communications. Attacks on these sectors are especially hazardous since they can result in loss of life or property.

Cybercriminals often carry out these attacks by employing malware and other exploits to take control of compromised systems, then using those systems to launch DDoS attacks against other organizations or devices.

The most straightforward and least expensive method for launching DDoS attacks involves flooding a network with traffic. However, more sophisticated attacks can be much more intricate, utilizing multiple methods based on the Open System Interconnection (OSI) model that take advantage of common behavior between network devices connected to the Internet.

By doing this, attackers can severely restrict a network’s bandwidth and make it unusable to many users or systems. Furthermore, the attacker has an edge over their victim due to being able to magnify their attack with the aid of a botnet – which is basically a collection of compromised systems infected with malicious software.

Some of these attacks are intended to target a particular industry or sector, such as Sony and British Airways. They aim to cause harm to the public image of both companies and their industries.

Another type of attack targets a particular belief system or ideology. For instance, animal rights activists might seek to stop companies conducting experiments on animals.

Propaganda is another type of DDoS attack, used to influence political decisions or opinions. These campaigns often receive state sponsorship and can be highly effective in undermining public confidence in certain policies or services within a country.

As attacks become increasingly sophisticated and frequent, it’s essential to stay alert for them. Furthermore, it’s crucial to identify and mitigate the threat at its onset, before it has time to have a significant effect.

Ammar Fakhruddin


Ammar brings in 18 years of experience in strategic solutions and product development in Public Sector, Oil & Gas and Healthcare organizations. He loves solving complex real world business and data problems by bringing in leading-edge solutions that are cost effective, improve customer and employee experience. At Propelex he focuses on helping businesses achieve digital excellence using Smart Data & Cybersecurity solutions.

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