A volumetric attack sends a high amount of traffic, or request packets, to a targeted network in an effort to overwhelm its bandwidth capabilities. These attacks work to flood the target in the hopes of slowing or stopping their services. Typically request sizes are in the 100’s of Gbps; however, recent attacks have scaled to over 1Tbps.
Volumetric attacks are prevalent due to the low technical barrier to generate a high volume of requests. In most cases, hackers utilize simple amplification techniques to scale the attack.
The amplification techniques deployed result in traffic originating from many sources (IP addresses or networks). As a result, volumetric attacks are much more difficult to mitigate than attacks that originate from a single source.
Volumetric attacks originate from a network of systems infected with malware. Malware allows cybercriminals to take control of devices that can then be used to generate the necessary influx of traffic.