Cryptocurrency: The Newest DDoS Attack Battlefield

Cryptocurrency: The Newest DDoS Attack Battlefield

Cryptocurrency is hot. How hot?

So hot that financier James Altucher predicted that cryptocurrencies will replace some or all paper money.

“Cryptocurrencies will replace some or all paper currencies in the long run,” he told CNBC. “Institutions aren’t yet in bitcoin, but they will be … we are in inning 0 of this asset class.”

And it’s not just finance and tech getting in on the cryptocurrency boom.

Rapper 50 Cent revealed recently that he had $7 million in Bitcoin that he plumb forgot about – the hip-hopper accepted 700 Bitcoins as an alternative method of payment for his 2014 album, and they’ve steadily increased in value since.

Cryptocurrency Under DDoS Attack

The problem is, attackers are paying attention.

In a December 2017 interview with CNBC, A10 Networks CEO Lee Chen predicted that cryptocurrency would find itself in DDoS attackers’ crosshairs as one of 2018’s biggest DDoS battleground.

“As cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin go mainstream, I think attackers will target Bitcoin as one of the next major targets,” Chen said.

And, according to Coin Telegraph, Chen’s prediction is ringing true. Cryptocurrency exchanges are now the biggest worldwide DDoS target. In Q3 2017, 75 percent (or three out of every four) Bitcoin exchanges were hit with a DDoS attack.

Just this month, BitConnect, a cryptocurrency lending and exchange platform, announced it would shut down, and partially said a string of website paralyzing DDoS attacks contributed to its closure. BitConnect isn’t alone. Other large exchanges, including Bitfinex and Bittrex, saw their services sidelined by DDoS attacks late last year.

And those attacks followed a massive attack during the launch of Bitcoin Gold, which rendered the site inaccessible, and the takedown of the Poloniex exchange, which ground trading to a halt.

Why Cryptocurrency?

The main reason behind the spike in DDoS attacks against cryptocurrency businesses is simple: cryptocurrency is becoming more popular and more valuable.

Attackers want to disrupt the high traffic sites and deny users access to services and their money. And because trading happens in real time, any moment of downtime can be catastrophic.

That, coupled with cryptocurrency being decentralized and not tied to or backed by a government, makes it an attractive target for attackers.

Defending Against DDoS

According to Chen, organizations must leverage the latest security solutions to stand up to DDoS attackers, and that goes double for cryptocurrency exchanges, which are currently prime targets.

It’s imperative that companies leverage DDoS defense solutions that can detect, mitigate and report on multi-vector DDoS attacks of any size and any scale. And their DDoS defense solutions should have built-in intelligence of known bots and agents to defend networks against current threats.

Hybrid protection is also key. Hybrid DDoS defense gives you the best of both worlds by combining cloud scrubbing with the surgical precision and context-aware controls of an always-on, instant on-premise DDoS solution.

Hybrid DDoS protection works this way: when DDoS attack volumes grow beyond the capacity of your internet pipe, it diverts traffic to the cloud to maintain service availability. This ensures you can defend against frequent smaller and sophisticated attacks that target applications, services and security devices, and the colossal 1 Tbps volumetric attacks that crush companies.

Blending cloud and on-premise DDoS defense ensures network exhaustion and application layer attacks are caught, and it eliminates mitigation errors that cause collateral damage to legitimate traffic and users.

A10 DDoS Protection to the Rescue

For example, A10 Thunder TPS is a DDoS defense solution that detects and mitigates multi-vector attacks at the network edge and can scale to defend against any size of attack. Thunder TPS offers the industry’s best scale, with up to 300 Gbps of mitigation throughput capacity, or 2.4 Tbps in a cluster, and can manage a whopping 500,000 flows per second to swiftly and efficiently detect attacks

Thunder TPS can detect and mitigate DDoS attacks of all sizes, from megabit- to terabit-sized DDoS attacks. And Thunder TPS tracks more than 27 traffic behavioral indicators against learned peacetime traffic to detect anomalous behavior and surgically distinguish legitimate users from attacking bots.

Combining the on-premise power of Thunder TPS with A10 DDoS Protection Cloud, an on-demand cloud DDoS scrubbing solution, you get cloud-scale hybrid DDoS protection against volumetric attacks that exceed your internet bandwidth. This hybrid approach offers precision protection against all DDoS attack strategies such as volumetric, network-based, application layer, slow and low attacks and attacks missed by cloud scrubbing services.

It also delivers automated policy-based mitigation escalation making frontline defenders more effective. It is orchestrated by our team of DDoS specialists, the A10 DDoS Security Incident Response Team (DSIRT), which redirect traffic to the A10 DDoS Protection Cloud when an attack swells to threaten an enterprises total internet bandwidth before it can take down your network.

Whether you run a popular cryptocurrency exchange or a global enterprise, with A10 Thunder TPS and DDoS Protection Cloud, you’re protected against modern multi-vector DDoS attacks of any kind and any size.


Andrew Hickey
February 5, 2018

About Andrew Hickey

Andrew Hickey serves as A10's editorial director. Andrew has two decades of journalism and content strategy experience, covering everything from crime to cloud computing and all things in between. READ MORE