Category Archives: DDoS Vendors

90% of Companies Get Attacked with Three-Year-Old Vulnerabilities

A Fortinet report released this week highlights the importance of keeping secure systems up to date, or at least a few cycles off the main release, albeit this is not recommended, but better than leaving systems unpatched for years. According to the Fortinet Q2 2017 Global Threat Landscape, 90% of organizations the company protects have experienced cyber-attacks during which intruders tried to exploit vulnerabilities that were three years or older. In addition, 60% of organizations were attacked with exploits ten years or older. Organizations that did a relatively good job at keeping systems patched would have been able to block the attacks. Nonetheless, it is always recommended that companies keep systems up to date at all times. This has been shown in the past year. First last year with a Joomla flaw that saw exploit attempts days after being disclosed, then again at the start of January when attackers started scanning for a recently disclosed WordPress flaw hours after the official announcement. The focus on older exploits is simple to explain. Not all hackers are on the same skill level of nation-state cyber-espionage units, and most rely on open-sourced exploits. The older the vulnerability, the better the chances of finding a working exploit on one of the many exploit-sharing sites currently available online. Weekend warriors Furthermore, the Fortinet includes an interesting chart that shows attackers launching attacks mostly over the weekend. There are a few simple explanations for these. First, there are no SIRT (Security Incident Response Team) responders at most businesses over the weekend. Second, most hackers have jobs as well, and the weekend is when most are free for “side activities.” Number of DDoS attacks grew after Mirai source code release Also this week, Akamai released the State of the Internet/Security Report for Q2 2017. The report contains statistics on a wide variety of web attacks that took place via the company’s infrastructure in April, May, and June. The report’s main finding is the rise in the number of DDoS attacks during the first half of 2017 after DDoS attacks went down during the second half of 2016. According to Akamai, the release of the Mirai DDoS malware source code in September 2016 helped breathe new life into a declining DDoS booter market. Since then, a large number of different botnets built on the Mirai source code have been spotted, many of which were offered as DDoS-for-hire services. In a separate research presented at the USENIX security conference last week, researchers from Cisco, Akamai, Google, and three US universities revealed that despite having a reputation of being able to take down some of the largest online companies around, most Mirai botnets were mainly used to target online gaming servers. Besides Mirai, another very active strain of DDoS-capable malware was the PBos trojan, also targeting Linux-based devices. Some of these attacks even reached the massive size of 75 Gbps. Source: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/90-percent-of-companies-get-attacked-with-three-year-old-vulnerabilities/

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90% of Companies Get Attacked with Three-Year-Old Vulnerabilities

DDoS attacks down in second quarter

Attacks designed to overwhelm servers with internet traffic — known as distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks — were less frequent this spring than last, according to Akamai’s second quarter report. Akamai is a major seller of services to fight DDoS attacks. According to the company’s report, attacks declined by 18 percent between the beginning of April and end of June from the same period last year. DDoS attacks use hacked computers and internet-connected devices to send abnormal levels of traffic to a target, forcing it to slow or crash. A DDoS attack knocked out a critical internet switchboard known as Dyn, a domain name system provider, in October that rendered Twitter, Netflix and The New York Times unreachable. In May, the FCC reported a DDoS attack slammed its commenting system, though critics have questioned whether this was an attack or just a flood of commenters weighing in on the contentious issue of net neutrality. The report notes that while attacks are down year over year, attacks jumped 28 percent from the first quarter. But, it cautions quarterly data may not be the best measure of trends. It explains many attacks are tied to yearly events: “For most organizations, security events aren’t seasonal, they happen year round, without the ability to anticipate attacks. Unless you’re the security team for a merchant, in which case you need to plan for Black Friday and Cyber Monday, since they are likely to be the high water marks for attack traffic for the year.” While attacks rose from the beginning of the year, attack severity declined. “[F]or the first time in many years” Akamai observed no attacks exceeding 100 gigabits per second. The report speculates one potential cause of lower severity attacks might be international success taking the networks of hijacked computers, known as botnets, offline. Gaming companies were the victim in around 80 percent of attacks observed by Akamai in the second quarter, with one customer seeing more than 550 attacks. At the USENIX conference this year, Akamai researchers, teaming with other industry players and academics, presented research that the Dyn attack was actually intended as an attack on one of Dyn’s clients — the gaming platform PlayStation. According to that presentation, Dyn crashed as it handled requests headed to PlayStation. Source: http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/347496-ddos-attacks-down-in-second-quarter

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DDoS attacks down in second quarter

Online Extortion Campaigns Target Users, Companies, Security Researchers

During the past week, there has been a sudden surge in online extortion campaigns, against regular users and security researchers alike. The most devious of these was a campaign detected by Forcepoint security researcher Roland Dela Paz, and which tried to trick users into thinking hackers had gotten their hands on sensitive or sexually explicit images. Attackers wanted payments of $320 to a Bitcoin address or they would have sent the compromising materials to the victim’s friends. Massive spam wave delivered fake threats This attempted blackmail message was the subject of a massive spam campaign that took place between August 11 and 18. Dela Paz says attackers sent out extortion emails to over 33,500 victims. Most of the targets were from Australia and France. The extortion campaign was particularly active in Australia, where it caught the eye of officials at the Australian National University, who issued a safety warning on the topic, alerting students of the emails. The extortion attempt was obviously fake, says Dela Paz. “The scale of this campaign suggests that the threat is ultimately empty,” the expert explained. “If the actors did indeed possess personal details of the recipients, it seems likely they would have included elements (e.g. name, address, or date of birth) in more targeted threat emails in order to increase their credibility.” Dela Paz warns that the campaign is still ongoing. Users can recognize the blackmail attempts by the following subject line formats: “Three random letters: [recipient email]  date and time ??n??rning ?ur yest?rday’s ??nv?rs?tion” “Three random letters: [recipient email]  date and time I hav? s?m?thing that can m??? y?ur lif? w?rse” “Three random letters: [recipient email]  date and time I would not li?e t? start our kn?winga?qu?int?n?? with this” “Three random letters: [recipient email]  date and time I’m not h?p?y with y?ur beh?vior lately” “Three random letters: [recipient email]  date and time Dont y?u thin? th?t your devi?? w?r?s w?ird?” “Three random letters: [recipient email]  date and time I think th?t it is not as funny for you as it is funny for m?” Hackers tried to blackmail Swiss security researcher In addition, during the past week, there were also extortion attempts sent to organizations. A hacker group calling itself ANX-Rans tried to extort a French company. Another group calling itself CyberTeam also tried to extract a ransom payment of 5 Bitcoin (~$20,000) from Abuse.ch, the website of a prominent Swiss security researcher. These DDoS threats in the hope of extracting Bitcoin payments are called DDoS-for-Bitcoin or RDoS (Ransom DDoS) attacks. RDoS attacks have been on the rise since mid-June after a South Korean hosting provider paid a ransom of nearly $1 million after web ransomware encrypted its customer servers. Ever since then, RDoS groups became extremely active hoping for a similar payday. We’ve already covered the active groups at the time in an article here. Group posing as Anonymous targeted US companies Since then, the most prominent RDoS campaign that took place was in mid-July when a group using the name of the Anonymous hacker collective tried to extort payments from US companies under the threat of DDoS attacks. At the time, Bleeping Computer obtained a copy of the ransom email from cyber-security firm Radware, who was investigating the threats. Radware said that despite posing as Anonymous hackers, this was the same group who tried to obtain ransoms of $315,000 from four South Korean banks (for these RDoS extortions the group posed as Armada Collective, another famous hacking crew). “This is not an isolated case. This is a coordinated large-scale RDoS spam campaign that appears to be shifting across regions of the world,” Radware security researcher Daniel Smith told Bleeping Computer via email at the time. “All ransom notes received have the same expiration date,” he added. “In RDoS spam campaigns like this one the actors threaten multiple victims with a 1Tbps attack on the same day.” Most RDoS extortion attempts are empty threats The group also claimed it was in control of a Mirai botnet made up of compromised IoT devices and was capable of launching DDoS attacks of 1 Tbps. No such attacks have been observed following the ransom demands on US companies. In research presented at the USENIX security conference last week, researchers from Cisco, Akamai, Google, and three US universities revealed that despite having a reputation of being able to take down some of the largest online companies around, the most variants of the Mirai botnet were mainly used to target online gaming servers. Most of these DDoS attacks on gaming servers were also relatively small as multiple botnets broke up IoT devices (DDoS resources) among them. In addition to the group posing as Anonymous, Radware also reported on multiple RDoS extortion attempts on gaming providers that also took place in July. “We suggest companies do not pay the ransom,” Smith said at the time, a recommendation still valid today, as this encourages more blackmailers to join in. Source: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/online-extortion-campaigns-target-users-companies-security-researchers/

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Online Extortion Campaigns Target Users, Companies, Security Researchers

Why DDoS attacks show no signs of slowing down

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks caused substantial damage to organisations across APAC and the world in the past year. According to Neustar’s recent ‘Worldwide DDoS Attacks and Cyber Insights Research Report’, 84 percent organisations surveyed globally were hit by a DDoS attack in the last 12 months, with 86 percent of those organisations were hit multiple times. The code used to cause these large outages was published openly, and soon after all sorts of attacks and variants of the original code were causing havoc around the world. Detection is too slow DDoS attacks are not only occurring more frequently but are also getting more difficult to detect. Within APAC, more than half of organisations on average are taking at least three hours to detect an attack and nearly as many took another three hours to respond once an attack was detected. Alarmingly, slow detection and response can lead to huge damages financially. Around half of all organisations stand to lose an average of $100,000 per hour of peak downtime during an attack. To exacerbate this, 40 percent of organisations hit were notified by their customers of the attacks. Investment is increasing The worrying figures above help explain why 90 percent of organisations are increasing their investments in DDoS defences, compared to the previous 12 months – up from 76 percent last year- despite the fact that 99 percent already have some form of protection in place. The threats faced today, and those anticipated in the future, are clearly forcing organisations to completely reconsider the ways they are currently protecting themselves. Mitigating against DDOS attacks Effectively mitigating DDoS attacks has become crucial for organisations that want to avoid damaging financial and reputational loss. In order to combat attacks, organisations need to adequately understand the threat, quantify the risk and then create a mitigation plan that corresponds to their needs. Whether it’s a large or small scale DDoS attack, to keep up with the growing threat, companies will need newer, adaptable, and scalable defences that include new technology and methodologies. Developing a mitigation plan Paying the cost for a DDoS mitigation that exceeds their requirements is like over insuring your car – you are paying a premium for a service that does not match your level of risk/potential loss. Similarly, implementing a DDoS mitigation that does not cover the risk will likely lead to additional costs, resulting from greater organisational impact and additional emergency response activities. Once the severity of the risk is understood, there are three key critical elements of producing a good mitigation plan that must be enacted: detection, response and rehearsal. Detecting an attack Fortunately, there are several technologies out there that can be used to monitor both the physical and cloud-based environment. An example is how organisations can use Netflow monitoring on border routers to detect a volumetric attack, or provide this data to a third-party for analysis and detection. They can also look at using appliances to conduct automatic detection and response, again managed internally or by a third-party. In a cloud environment, organisations can choose between a vast array of cloud monitoring tools that allow them to identify degradation and performance, CPU utilisation and latency, giving an indication as accurate as possible of when an attack occurs. Responding to an attack The response plan to the attack must be scaled to the organisation’s risk exposure and technology infrastructure. For instance, an organisation operating in the cloud with a moderate risk exposure might decide on a cloud based solution, pay-on-occurrence model. On the other hand, a financial services company that operates its own infrastructure will be exposed to more substantial financial and reputational risk. Such a company would ideally look for a hybrid solution that would provide the best time to mitigate, low latency and near immediate failover to cloud mitigation for large volumetric attacks. Rehearsal of your mitigation plan Regardless of the protection method being deployed, it’s good practice to rehearse it periodically. Periodic testing can not only eliminate gaps or issues in responding to a DDoS attack, but can also prepare the responsible owners to perform their required actions when an actual event occurs. In summary, DDoS attacks aren’t showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. The threats associated with DDoS attacks cannot be understated or underestimated. Moreover, by quantifying the risk to the organisation and implementing a right-sized mitigation solution, organisations can effectively and efficiently mitigate the risk of DDoS attacks. Source: https://securitybrief.com.au/story/why-ddos-attacks-show-no-signs-slowing-down/

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Why DDoS attacks show no signs of slowing down

World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Hearthstone and other games hit by DDoS

Games company Blizzard has reported on Twitter that: “We are currently monitoring a DDOS attack against network providers which is affecting latency/connections to our games.”  World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Hearthstone and other game servers are believed to have been hit. At about 5pm last night Blizzard noticed Down Detector – which monitors online outages  -logging a huge upsurge of problems and 2800+ reports for Overwatch, World of Warcraft and several other Blizzard gaming services. Commenting on the way that even failure to bring a service down completely has a severe impact on online games ,   Igal Zeifman, director at Imperva Incapsula said in an email to SC: “Competitive online games are an attractive target for any DDoS offender looking to create large-scale mayhem in hope of some Internet notoriety. Moreover, such gaming networks are also particularly vulnerable to denial of service assaults because, unlike many other targets, they don’t need to be taken offline to become unusable. “In the case of a real-time online game, even a small amount of  latency–as a result of a technically “failed” attacks–is enough to cause major disruption to gamers looking for a completely responsive and immersive experience. This is exactly what is happening in this case. Even if some users are able to log in, the latency they experience still makes Overwatch unplayable.” Source: https://www.scmagazineuk.com/world-of-warcraft-overwatch-hearthstone-and-other-games-hit-by-ddos/article/681508/

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World of Warcraft, Overwatch, Hearthstone and other games hit by DDoS

Libertarian Site Suffers DDoS Attack After Supporting Google Worker

Quillette Magazine, a small but respected libertarian publication based in Australia, suffered a DDoS attack Tuesday after publishing an article supportive of James Damore, the fired Google memo writer. The attack, which crashed the site for a day, came after Quillette published the opinion of four scientists on the Google memo. The scientists found that the conservative Google employee’s views on gender differences were supported by substantial scientific evidence. The Google memo’s “key claims about sex differences are especially well-supported by large volumes of research across species, culture,” wrote Geoffrey Miller, a professor of evolutionary psychology at the University of New Mexico, explaining that the memo “is consistent with the scientific state of the art on sex differences.” “Among commentators who claim the memo’s empirical facts are wrong, I haven’t read a single one who understand sexual selection theory, animal behavior, and sex differences research,” Miller added. Deborah Soh, who has a PhD in sexual neuroscience and works as a Toronto-based science writer, concurred with Miller. “Sex differences between women and men—when it comes to brain structure and function and associated differences in personality and occupational preferences—are understood to be true, because the evidence for them (thousands of studies) is strong.” “This is not information that’s considered controversial or up for debate; if you tried to argue otherwise, or for purely social influences, you’d be laughed at,” Soh said. Unfortunately, liberal-hacker-activists couldn’t handle the truth, and Quillette’s website took an arrow to the knee. Claire Lehmann, the founder of Quillette, told PJ Media that her website was especially susceptible to attack. While there are many programs that can be used to protect against DDoS attacks (which are when hackers flood websites with traffic to crash it), Claire said she didn’t have any. “I’m a small site and my technical skills are not at a high level, so I was unaware that I should have had these protections. Apparently they are fairly standard,” she told PJ Media. Her site, which has received endorsements from well-known figures such as Charles Murray and Richard Dawkins, has a history of publishing science-based journalism, but this is the first time they’ve suffered a DDoS attack, Lehman says. (Disclosure: I’ve written a few articles on higher education for them. Small world.) Lehmann, whose site has been dedicated to supporting alternative viewpoints since it launched in 2016, said her work is crucial to helping people see the truth behind things. “It’s important to hear alternative viewpoints so that we can work out what is the truth, and not merely consensus,” Lehmann said. “Over the past few years, both academic and media institutions have become highly conformist. And we know that groupthink leads to blindspots, which makes us unable to see what is actually true.” Source: https://pjmedia.com/trending/2017/08/09/libertarian-site-suffers-ddos-attack-after-supporting-google-worker/

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Libertarian Site Suffers DDoS Attack After Supporting Google Worker

Ukrainian Postal Service Knocked Offline By Repeated DDoS

Ukrposhta, the national postal service in Ukraine, was hit with a two-day DDoS attack that began on Monday, knocking some systems offline. According to the Interfax news agency, the computer systems targeted by the unknown assailants are used to track customer parcels and shipments. Ukrposhta is managed by the Infrastructure Ministry in Ukraine, and employs almost 12,000 postal officers across the country and 76,000 employees in all—meaning that disruptions could have far-reaching effects. The company gave DDoS updates via its Facebook page yesterday. The latest (in translation) reads: “During the first wave of the attack, which began yesterday in the morning, our IT services could normalize the situation, and after 5 p.m., all the services on the site worked properly. But today, hackers are at it again. Due to their actions, both the website and services are working, but slowly and with interruptions.” Igal Zeifman, director of marketing at Imperva for the Incapsula product line, said via email that it sounds like Ukrposhta is dealing with several repeat assaults, occurring in rapid succession. “Recently, such tactics had become more common due to their ability to disrupt some security measures and cause fatigue to the people in charge of the attack mitigation, forcing them to stay alert even in the quiet time between the attacks,” he said. “In the first quarter of the year, we saw the number of such repeat assaults reach an all-time-high, with over 74% of DDoS targets attacked at least twice in the span of that quarter.” This is not the first time that Ukraine’s postal service has faced significant attacks this year. The country was ground zero for the Petya/NotPetya ransomware attacks that proliferated around the globe in June, which affected not just the postal service but also banks and the state-owned power companies, Ukenergo and Kyivenergo. Source: https://www.infosecurity-magazine.com/news/ukrainian-postal-service-repeated/

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Ukrainian Postal Service Knocked Offline By Repeated DDoS

Malicious content delivered over SSL/TLS has more than doubled in six months

Threats using SSL encryption are on the rise. An average of 60 percent of the transactions in the Zscaler cloud have been delivered over SSL/TLS. Researchers also found that the Zscaler cloud saw an average of 8.4 million SSL/TLS-based security blocks per day this year. “Hackers are increasingly using SSL to conceal device infections, shroud data exfiltration and hide botnet command and control communications. In fact, our study found that the amount of phishing attempts … More ?

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Malicious content delivered over SSL/TLS has more than doubled in six months

FCC: We could tell you our cybersecurity plan… but we’d have to kill you

Despite Pai on face, US federal regulator keeps digging DDoS BS hole America’s broadband watchdog, the FCC, has continued digging an ever-deeper hole over its claims it was subject to a distributed denial-of-service attack.…

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FCC says its cybersecurity measures to prevent DDoS attacks must remain secret

The FCC has provided a few — very few — details of the steps it has taken to prevent attacks like the one that briefly took down its comment system in May. The agency has faced criticism over its secrecy regarding the event, and shows no sign of opening up; citing “the ongoing nature of the threats,” to reveal its countermeasures would “undermine our system’s security.” These cryptic comments are the first items of substance in a letter (PDF) sent to the House Energy and Commerce and Government Reform committees. Members thereof had sent letters to the FCC in late June asking what solutions it was implementing to mitigate or prevent future attacks. A cover letter from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai emphasizes the fact that millions of comments have been filed since, including 2 million in the 4 days following the attack. He writes that the Commission’s IT staff “has taken additional steps… to ensure the ongoing integrity and resiliency of the system.” What those steps are, however, he did not feel at liberty to say, except that they involve “commercial cloud providers” and “internet-based solutions.” Since the comment filing system is commercially cloud-hosted, and the system is fundamentally internet-based, neither of these descriptions is particularly revelatory. It’s not the security, it’s the communication The issue, however, isn’t that we are deeply afraid that another hacker will take down the system. After all, basic rate limiting and some analytics seem to have done the job and allowed record numbers of comments immediately after the attack stopped. The FCC was still writing reports and calling experts at the time the system had returned to full operation. The issue is the FCC’s confusing and misleading handling of the entire thing. The nature and extent of the attack is unclear — it’s described in a previous letter to concerned senators as a “non-traditional DDoS attack.” Supposedly the API was being hammered by cloud-based providers. What providers? Don’t they have records? Who was requesting the keys necessary to do this? Very little has been disclosed, and even requests of information circumstantial to the attacks have been denied. What is so sensitive about an analysis of the network activity from that period? Petitioners seeking to see communications pertaining to the attack were told much of the analysis was not written down. Even the most naive internet user would find it hard to believe that in a major agency of a modern bureaucracy, a serious attack on its internet infrastructure, concerning a major internet policy, would fail to be discussed online.  The FCC also says it consulted with the FBI and agreed that the attack was not a “significant cyber incident” as such things are defined currently in government. For the curious: A cyber incident that is (or group of related cyber incidents that together are) likely to result in demonstrable harm to the national security interests, foreign relations, or economy of the United States or to the public confidence, civil liberties, or public health and safety of the American people. Okay, that seems reasonable. So why is it being kept under wraps? Why are the countermeasures, which are probably industry standard, unable to be disclosed? How would disclosing the details of those security countermeasures undermine those systems? If it’s the “ongoing threat,” what is the threat exactly if not the pervasive threat of hacking faced by any public website, service or API? Have there been follow-up attacks we haven’t been informed of? The investigation is also ongoing, but in that case how could it fail to produce written records for FOIA requests like those already submitted? The more the FCC drags its feet and stammers out non-answers to simple questions regarding what it itself has categorized a non-major attack that happened months ago and did not significantly affect its systems, the less we trust what it does say. Concerned senators, representatives and others are not going to stop asking, however. Let’s hope whatever the FCC seems unwilling to share comes out before it ceases to be relevant. It would be a shame, for instance, to receive a full report on hackers bent on supporting one side of the net neutrality argument… the day after the FCC votes on the issue. Source: https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/31/fcc-says-its-cybersecurity-measures-to-prevent-ddos-attacks-must-remain-secret/

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FCC says its cybersecurity measures to prevent DDoS attacks must remain secret