Study: Attacks Against Websites Attempted Every Two Minutes

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Security company Imperva released the results of a study that found “web applications, on average, experience twenty seven attacks per hour, or roughly one attack every two minutes.” The company monitored 10 million attacks between December of last year and May of this year “targeting 30 different enterprise and government web applications.”

The 27 attacks per hour appear to be mostly probing for vulnerabilities on various sites. Once a vulnerability is exposed, however, Imperva reports that automated attacks can grow to upwards of 25,000 per hour—or seven attacks per second.

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And where do most of these attacks originate? Right here in the U.S. “Over 61 percent of the attacks originated from bots in the United States, though it was unclear from where they were controlled,” according to Imperva.

Most attackers anonymize themselves online by routing their web connections through a proxy first—the Onion Router, or TOR, being a well-known anonymous routing system. After the U.S., China claimed 10% of attacks, followed by a handful of attacks from Sweden and France. So although the majority of attacks originate from computers in these places, those machines could merely be infected with a virus (or “bot”) that’s being controlled remotely by someone located just about anywhere in the world and running their own web traffic through an anonymous router.

The sheer volume of attacks is highlighted by the fact that they can be automated. Imperva CTO Amichai Shulman said, “The way hackers have leveraged automation is one of the most significant innovations in criminal history. You can’t automate car theft, or purse stealing. But you can automate data theft. Automation will be the driver that makes cyber crime exceed physical crime in terms of financial impact.”

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