advertisement
advertisement
advertisement

DDoS Attackers Switch Gears: Hit The Router, Not The Web Server

Written by Frank Hayes
November 17th, 2011

Distributed denial-of-service attacks on commercial Web sites have taken a nasty turn since last year: They’re now throwing four times as many packets, and the type of packets are more likely to bring targeted sites to their knees. That’s according to security vendor Prolexic Technologies, which on Thursday (Nov. 17) is slated to release a report that says since Q3 2010, attackers have shifted from attacks that aim at Web servers to those that target routers—a change that could require retailers to put up much stronger defenses against brute-force attacks.

It’s hard enough defending against a botnet firing an endless stream of “show me your homepage” requests at an E-Commerce site. Retailers have already seen those attacks amped up to 50 times their previous level during a few days after Black Friday last year. But the new style of attack (so far aimed mainly at online gambling sites) is likely to require a lot more hardware to pick off nasty packets—and it’s hardware that’s only necessary until the attack ends, at which point it’s very expensive bric-a-brac.

According to the Prolexic report, the new attacks have shifted from the network’s application layer (for example, using packets containing the HTTP GET command) to the transport and Internet layers (using lower-level network traffic signals). In network jargon, that means the new-style attacks are mostly SYN floods, ICMP floods and UCP floods—all arriving at a rate of millions of packets per second, and all of which have to be dealt with one packet at a time.

“The bad news is, you can’t just ACL that off,” said Neal Quinn, VP of operations at Prolexic. “You have to let traffic through, and you need a DDoS mitigation appliance to authenticate the SYN requests. That’s north of $150,000.” Unfortunately, those appliances still aren’t designed to handle the level of attack bandwidth that this year’s attacks are using. “You really need a provider who has a huge deployment of those appliances to spread the load out globally,” Quinn said.

Not surprisingly, that’s the business Prolexic is in. But hiring out the attack-mitigation work to some provider makes painful financial sense. According to the report, a typical attack lasts about a day and a half. A million dollars’ worth of in-house hardware that might actually be used at most a few days out of each year? Sure, that’ll go over big with your CFO.

And unfortunately, it’s the attackers who get to pick the game.


advertisement

Comments are closed.

Newsletters

StorefrontBacktalk delivers the latest retail technology news & analysis. Join more than 60,000 retail IT leaders who subscribe to our free weekly email. Sign up today!
advertisement

Most Recent Comments

Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

StorefrontBacktalk
Our apologies. Due to legal and security copyright issues, we can't facilitate the printing of Premium Content. If you absolutely need a hard copy, please contact customer service.