Persistent and aggressive. That’s how Joe Loveless, Neustar Director of Product Marketing for Security Services, describes today’s DDoS landscape. On the heels of releasing the latest 2016 DDoS Attacks and Protection report titled “A Steady State of Threats in the Connected World,” Loveless depicted a DDoS environment that is “teeming with DDoS attacks.”

“We continue to see the ingenious and sinister ways that DDoS is being weaponized and used against businesses and organizations,” Loveless said. “Over the past year, ransomware grabbed headlines and held some industries in a perpetual state of worry,” Loveless explained.  “And what we’re seeing with this report, is attackers continuing to use DDoS as a smokescreen to breach defenses then activate malware, install ransomware – or whatever virus – to hold the company hostage.”

To highlight the threat of smokescreens, Loveless pointed to the 73% of organizations that were attacked, then the 46% of respondents who discovered a virus after the DDoS-initiated breach. Viruses hurt, but even worse - more than 100 of the organizations that experienced an attack had to contend with ransomware in concert with a DDoS attack – a dangerous trend that shows no sign of abating.

 “The types of attacks and the damage they’re inflicting exceeds what we’ve seen in years past,” stated Loveless.

As the number of Internet-connected devices continues to climb and people grow more accustomed to shopping online, companies have expanded their e-commerce operations, allowing for an expansion of profit opportunities. But that same expansion has also widened the threat landscape.

Almost half - 49% - of companies would lose $100k or more per hour in the event of downtime. A staggering 33% would lose $250k or more during the same time period.

But Loveless also pointed out reasons for optimism, citing quicker detection and response times, particularly in North America and the EMEA region. “It goes without saying, but quicker detection and action to put down the threat is absolutely vital in the war against DDoS – speed is essential in effective defense,” Loveless said. “And when you consider the rampant use of DDoS as a smokescreen, there’s a real sense of urgency to be proactive about mitigating the attack before the damage morphs into a chronic issue.”

According to Loveless, one reason for the increased detection and response time is the growing adoption of hybrid as a DDoS defense. Hybrid, which combines an on-premise DDoS application and use of the cloud, has almost doubled in usage, going from 20% in 2014, to 36% in 2016.

To learn more about DDoS trends, download your free copy of the 2016 Neustar DDoS Attacks and Trends report