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DDoS cyber attack Alamy

DDoS, Not Ransomware, Is Top Business Concern for Edge Networks

A study found that ransomware threats are viewed as having the lowest overall perceived likelihood of attack on the edge.

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) is the attack method businesses are most concerned about, believing it will have the largest impact on the business.

That was among the chief findings of AT&T's "2023 Cybersecurity Insights Report," based on a survey of 1,418 participants. Theresa Lanowitz, head of cybersecurity evangelism at AT&T Business, calls the perceived risk and rise in concern for DDoS attacks surprising.

"With edge, the attack surface is changing, and taking down a large number of Internet of things (IoT) devices can have significant impact on the business," she says. "The near real-time data created and consumed by most edge use cases make DDoS attacks attractive. By its definition, a DDoS attack will degrade a network and response time."

She adds, "Those who have not invested in DDoS protection are indicating the timing is right to do so."

The study also found ransomware dropped to eighth place out of eight in perceived likelihood of attack type. Yet Lanowitz notes that over the past 24 months, organizations of all types and sizes have invested in ransomware prevention.

"However, ransomware criminals and their attacks are relentless," she cautions. 

Additional analysis suggests cyber-adversaries may be cycling with the rise and fall of different types of attacks.

"Operating systems embedded in edge IoT devices make it more expensive for a financially motivated adversary to target the device with ransomware," Lanowitz says. "It is far more time intensive to write and deploy destructive code for an IoT device running a derivative of a version of Linux than to target a Windows-based laptop."

She explains one of the most pleasantly surprising findings in the report is how organizations are investing in security for edge: Security budgets have become 22% of overall project budgets, equally distributed with strategy.

"We asked survey participants how they were allocating their budgets for the primary edge use cases," she says. "The results show that security is clearly an integral part of edge, and that security is being planned for proactively."

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