Comcast on the surge of botnets and how businesses can properly defend themselves

With the range, scope and variety of damaging botnet attacks on the rise, businesses large and small need to prioritize cybersecurity and ensure they are taking proactive and iterative measures to protect against potentially devastating attacks. 

"Cyber[security], like many things in life, is a journey. It's not a destination," said Ivan Shefrin, executive director for managed security services at Comcast Business, who joined the Light Reading Podcast to discuss the rising threat of botnets. "Even the largest companies in the world are not fully mature. You can always improve continuously and get better." 

Shefrin said adopting such an approach is critical for businesses as cybersecurity threats increase. The 2021 Comcast Business DDoS Threat Report found that distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) botnet attacks have risen 14% since 2019, and 41% since 2021. 

"We're in an arms race now," Shefrin said. "Machine learning and automation are the leading edge of that arms race … It unfortunately means that botnets are only going to grow in size and scope and complexity – and the difficulty in defending them." 

You can download a lightly edited transcript of the podcast here. If you want to skip around and listen, here are a few topics discussed during this podcast:

  • A brief introduction to the world of botnets and the threat they pose to businesses (1:13)
  • The number and variety of attacks that can be perpetuated by botnets, and how network providers can play a role in mitigating threats (4:50)
  • Discoveries made and trends detected by Comcast's latest DDoS Threat Report, including a rise in the number of DDoS botnet attacks and how modernized attacks are difficult to defend against (9:30) 
  • Why DDoS botnet attacks are on the rise (11:20) 
  • How unpatched systems have created targets for cybercriminals, and why keeping those systems patched presents a major challenge for larger companies (16:00) 
  • How botnets have evolved to become fungible assets for cybercriminals (21:15) 

— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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