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DDoS Extortion Group Sends Ransom Demand to Thousands of Companies

A group of DDoS extortionists using the name of Phantom Squad has sent out a massive spam wave to thousands of companies all over the globe, threating DDoS attacks on September 30, if victims do not pay a ransom demand. The emails spreading the ransom demands were first spotted by security researcher Derrick Farmer and the threats appear to have started on September 19 and continued ever since. Hackers looking for small $700 ransoms The emails contain a simple threat, telling companies to pay 0.2 Bitcoin (~$720) or prepare to have their website taken down on September 30. Sample of a Phantom Squad DDoS ransom email Usually, these email threats are sent to a small number of companies one at a time, in order for extortionists to carry out attacks if customers do not pay. This time, this group appears to have sent the emails in a shotgun approach to multiple recipients at the same time, a-la classic spam campaigns distributing other forms of malware. Because of this, several experts who reviewed the emails and ransom demands reached the conclusion that the group does not possess the firepower to launch DDoS attacks on so many targets on the same day, and is most likely using scare tactics hoping to fool victims into paying. Extortionists are not the sharpest tool in the shed The size of this email spam wave is what surprised many experts. Its impact was felt immediately on social media [1, 2, 3, 4] and on webmaster forums, where sysadmins went looking for help and opinions on how to handle the threat. Bleeping Computer reached out to several security companies to get a general idea of the size of this spam wave. “Not sure how widespread it is in terms of volume, but they are certainly spamming a lot of people,” Justin Paine, Head of Trust & Safety at Cloudflare, told Bleeping . “We’ve had 5 customers so far report these ‘Phantom Squad’ emails,” he added. “These geniuses even sent a ransom threat to the noc@ address for a major DDoS mitigation company.” Extortionists are “recycling” email text Radware engineers received similar reports, so much so that the company issued a security alert of its own. Radware security researcher Daniel Smith pointed out that the extortionists may not be the real Phantom Squad, a group of DDoS attackers that brought down various gaming networks in the winter of 2015 [1, 2]. Smith noticed that the ransom note was almost identical to the one used in June 2017 by another group of extortionists using the name Armada Collective. Those extortion attempts through the threat of DDoS attacks also proved to be empty threats, albeit some were successful. “The part that I find interesting is the low ransom request compared to the ransom request last month,” Smith told Bleeping Computer . “Last month a fake RDoS group going by the name Anonymous ransomed several banks for 100 BTC.” Experts don’t believe the group can launch DDoS attacks This shows an evolution in ransom DDoS (RDoS) attacks, with groups moving from targeting small groups of companies within an industry vertical to mass targeting in the hopes of extracting small payments from multiple victims. “This is what the modern RDoS campaign has come to,” Smith also said. “In the spring of 2016 after a lull in RDoS attacks, a group emerged calling themselves the Armada Collective, but their modus operandi had clearly changed. This group claiming to be Armada Collective was no longer targeting a small number of victims but instead were targeting dozens of victims at once without launching a sample attack.” “As a result, these attackers were able to make thousands of dollars by taking advantage of public fear and a notorious name. Several other copycat groups that emerged in 2016 and 2017 also leveraged the names of groups like, New World Hackers, Lizard Squad, LulzSec, Fancy Bear, and Anonymous.” “To launch a series of denial-of-service attacks, this group will require vast resources. Therefore, when a group sends dozens of extortion letters, they typically will not follow through with a cyber-attack,” Smith said. Smith’s opinion is also shared by Paine, who recently tweeted “ransom demands from this group = spam” and “empty threats, zero attacks from this copycat.” Victims should report extortion attempts to authorities Japan CERT has issued a security alert informing companies how to handle the fake demands by reporting the emails to authorities. Today, security researcher Brad Duncan also published an alert on the ISC SANS forums, letting other sysadmins and security researchers know not to believe the ransom threats. Source: https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/security/ddos-extortion-group-sends-ransom-demand-to-thousands-of-companies/

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DDoS Extortion Group Sends Ransom Demand to Thousands of Companies

Machine Learning in the DOSarrest Operations

Machine Learning can appear in many different forms and guises, but a general definition of Machine Learning usually incorporates something about computers learning without explicit programming and being able to automatically adapt. And while Machine Learning has been around for decades as a concept, it’s become more of a reality as computational power continues to increase, and the proliferation of Big Data platforms making it easier to capture floods of data. These developments have made ML practical and garnered a lot of interest, as evidenced by the large number of articles in the last two years surrounding AI and machine Learning However despite all this, the adoption of this Machine Learning is still relatively low amongst companies in the tech landscape (Gartner estimating that fewer than 15 percent of enterprises successfully get machine learning into production). And even when you hear about Company X adopting a machine learning strategy, it’s often conflated with another strategy or service within that company, and not truly realizing the automated ‘adaptiveness’ inherent within ML. Those companies that do realize a proper machine learning strategy, understanding and grooming their data as well as identifying the appropriate model/s can see real benefits to their operations, which is why DOSarrest has been developing such a strategy over the last year. Here at DOSarrest, we’ve been focusing on building an Anomaly Detection engine, focusing on the constantly evolving sophisticated application layer attacks. We collect huge amounts of data from disparate sources (e.g. Customized web logs, snmp and flow data, IDS logs, etc.), even when customers are not under attack. This provides an opportunity to identify baselines even in a multi tenant environment. As you would expect, there is a high degree of cardinality within some of the data fields, which can be challenging to work with when working with data in motion, but can have great benefits. With these huge structured data sets, we are able to identify KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and statistics that can be leveraged by the engine to identify anomalous behavior and brought to the attention of the Security Ops team, who are then able to investigate and act on the identified pattern. The engine continues to refine the probability of a metric, becoming more accurate over time in determining the severity of an anomaly. The strategy holds great promise, and further developments and refinements to this model will continue to evolve the best Security Operations Center in the business. A more detailed view of an anomaly – this shows a single IP requesting more than 60 times more frequently than a normal visitor. This screen gives an overview of any anomalies, organized by relevant factors. In this case the remote IP address of the requestor. Jag Bains CTO, DOSarrest Internet Security Source: https://www.dosarrest.com/ddos-blog/machine-learning-in-the-dosarrest-operations

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Machine Learning in the DOSarrest Operations

What is Machine Learning?

Machine Learning can appear in many different forms and guises, but a general definition of Machine Learning usually incorporates something about computers learning without explicit programming and being able to automatically adapt. And while Machine Learning has been around for decades as a concept, it’s become more of a reality as computational power continues to increase, and the proliferation of Big Data platforms making it easier to capture floods of data. These developments have made ML practical and garnered a lot of interest, as evidenced by the large number of articles in the last two years surrounding AI and machine Learning However despite all this, the adoption of this Machine Learning is still relatively low amongst companies in the tech landscape (Gartner estimating that fewer than 15 percent of enterprises successfully get machine learning into production). And even when you hear about Company X adopting a machine learning strategy, it’s often conflated with another strategy or service within that company, and not truly realizing the automated ‘adaptiveness’ inherent within ML. Those companies that do realize a proper machine learning strategy, understanding and grooming their data as well as identifying the appropriate model/s can see real benefits to their operations, which is why DOSarrest has been developing such a strategy over the last year. Here at DOSarrest, we’ve been focusing on building an Anomaly Detection engine, focusing on the constantly evolving sophisticated application layer attacks. We collect huge amounts of data from disparate sources (e.g. Customized web logs, snmp and flow data, IDS logs, etc.), even when customers are not under attack. This provides an opportunity to identify baselines even in a multi tenant environment. As you would expect, there is a high degree of cardinality within some of the data fields, which can be challenging to work with when working with data in motion, but can have great benefits. With these huge structured data sets, we are able to identify KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) and statistics that can be leveraged by the engine to identify anomalous behavior and brought to the attention of the Security Ops team, who are then able to investigate and act on the identified pattern. The engine continues to refine the probability of a metric, becoming more accurate over time in determining the severity of an anomaly. The strategy holds great promise, and further developments and refinements to this model will continue to evolve the best Security Operations Center in the business. A more detailed view of an anomaly – this shows a single IP requesting more than 60 times more frequently than a normal visitor. This screen gives an overview of any anomalies, organized by relevant factors. In this case the remote IP address of the requestor. Jag Bains CTO, DOSarrest Internet Security Source: https://www.dosarrest.com/ddos-blog/machine-learning-in-the-dosarrest-operations

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What is Machine Learning?

America’s Cardroom, WPN Hit by DDoS Attack Again

It had been a while, but America’s Cardroom seemed due for another cyber attack. Yup, leading into the Labor Day weekend, ACR and its network, the Winning Poker Network, were hit with a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, something that is unfortunately not a unique event for either the online poker room or the network. The attack began Thursday evening, affecting, among many other games, ACR’s Online Super Series (OSS) Cub3d. Problems continued all the way through Saturday. America’s Cardroom initially tweeted about the issues at about quarter after eight Thursday night, writing, “We are currently experiencing a DDOS attack, all running tournaments have been paused. Will keep you updated.” A half hour later, ACR announced that it was cancelling all tournaments in progress and providing refunds per the site’s terms and conditions. At about 9:00pm, the site was back up, but the DDoS attacks continued, causing poker client interruptions less than two and a half hours later. Problems continued well into Friday morning until ACR and WPN finally got things under control (temporarily) close to noon. The pattern continued that evening, with games going down after 6:00pm Friday and then resuming, and going down again after 7:00pm. Finally, around noon Saturday, ACR’s techs seemed to get a handle on things “for good.” In a Distributed Denial of Service attack, the attacker (or attackers) floods a server with millions of communications requests at once. It’s not a virus or a hack or anything malicious like that, but the communications overwhelm the server and grind it to a halt. Think of it like the traffic jam to end all traffic jams. It wouldn’t be THAT big of a deal if the attack was coming from one source, but since it is “distributed,” the attacker arranges it so that it originates from literally millions of IP addresses. It makes defending one’s network insanely difficult. To use another brilliant illustration, if you are trapped in a house and a zombie horde is coming for your juicy brains, it’s scary and awful, but if all the zombies decide to come in through the front door, you can probably handle it if properly equipped. If they surround you and just crash in through every door, window, and mouse hole like in Night of the Living Dead, might as well develop a taste for human flesh because you’re screwed. As with other DDoS attacks, the network was contacted by the aggressor, who demanded a ransom of some sort. WPN CEO Phil Nagy went on Twitch and said he refused to cave to any demands. He even posted a brief series of messages from the attacker, who said he was doing it on behalf of a competing poker room (all spelling mistakes what-not his): this is my job anouther site give me money for doos you and i ddos you this is my job Nagy said that he hoped that by at least making it public that it may be another site responsible for the DDoS attack that it will make someone nervous that they could get caught and the attacks will subside. WPN first experienced a major DDoS attack in December 2014, during its Million Dollar Sunday tournament, when it caused disconnections, lag, and registration problems. It happened again in September 2015 and again in October 2015. The network will be re-running many of the tournaments, including the OSS and MOSS, and will cut the buy-in of the million dollar guaranteed OSS tourney in half as well as add an extra Sunday Million. Source: https://www.pokernewsdaily.com/americas-cardroom-wpn-hit-ddos-attack-30342/

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America’s Cardroom, WPN Hit by DDoS Attack Again

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

What is Pulse Wave? Hackers devise new DDoS attack technique aimed at boosting scale of assaults

The new attack method allows hackers to shut down targets’ networks for longer periods while simultaneously conducting attacks on multiple targets. Hackers have begun launching a new kind of DDoS attack designed to boost the scale of attacks by targeting soft spots in traditional DDoS mitigation tactics. Dubbed “Pulse Wave”, the new attack technique allows hackers to shut down targeted organisations’ networks for prolonged periods while simultaneously conducting attacks on multiple targets. The new attacks may render traditional DDoS mitigation tactics useless, experts say. Some of the pulse wave DDoS attacks detected lasted for days and “scaled as high as 350 Gbps”, according to security researchers at Imperva, who first spotted the new threat. “Comprised of a series of short-lived pulses occurring in clockwork-like succession, pulse wave assaults accounted for some of the most ferocious DDoS attacks we mitigated in the second quarter of 2017,” Imperva researchers said in a report. The researchers said they believe that the pulse wave technique was “purposefully designed” by “skilled bad actors” to boost hackers’ attack scale and output by taking advantage of “soft spots in hybrid ‘appliance first, cloud second’ mitigation solutions.” Traditional DDoS attacks involve a continuous barrage of assaults against a targeted network, while pulse wave involves short bursts of attacks that have a “highly repetitive pattern, consisting of one or more pulses every 10 minutes”. The new attacks last for at least an hour and can extend to even days. A single pulse is large and powerful enough to completely congest a network. “The most distinguishable aspect of pulse wave assaults is the absence of a ramp-up period — all attack resources are committed at once, resulting in an event that, within the first few seconds, reaches a peak capacity that is maintained over its duration,” the Imperva researchers said. ulse wave takes advantage of appliance-first hybrid mitigation solutions by preying on the “Achilles’ heel of appliance-first mitigation solutions”, – the devices’ incapability of dealing with sudden powerful attack traffic surges. The Imperva researchers said the emergence of pulse wave DDoS attacks indicates a significant shift in the attack landscape. “While pulse wave attacks constitute a new attack method and have a distinct purpose, they haven’t emerged in a vacuum. Instead, they’re a product of the times and should be viewed in the context of a broader shift toward shorter-duration DDoS attacks,” researchers said. The Imperva researchers predicted that such attacks will continue, becoming more persistent and growing, boosted via botnets. Source: http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/what-pulse-wave-hackers-devise-new-ddos-attack-technique-aimed-boosting-scale-assaults-1635423

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What is Pulse Wave? Hackers devise new DDoS attack technique aimed at boosting scale of assaults

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

Hackers threaten South Korean banks with DDoS attacks following record ransomware payment

The Armada Collective hacking group has issued a ransom demand of approximately $315,000 to seven South Korean banks, threatening to launch distributed denial of service attacks against each of their organizations. The threat came just days after fellow South Korean firm NAYANA negotiated a record $1.01 million ransom payment on June 14 to remedy an unrelated ransomware attack that locked up its systems. The timing of this latest threat has reportedly prompted some observers to wonder if NAYANA’s actions encouraged the Armada Collective to test the resolve of other South Korean companies. Citing financial authorities, the Yonhap News Agency on June 21 named the threatened banks as KB Kookmin Bank, Shinhan Bank, Woori Bank, KEB Hana Bank, NH Bank and two other lenders. The banks were given a deadline of June 26. The Armada Collective has engaged in this behavior before. For instance, in April 2016 Cloudfare published a report detailing an Armada Collective campaign that issued empty DDoS threats against a wide range of businesses extorting hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process. Source: https://www.scmagazine.com/hackers-threaten-south-korean-banks-with-ddos-attacks-following-record-ransomware-payment/article/671377/

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Hackers threaten South Korean banks with DDoS attacks following record ransomware payment

Dems: FCC DDoS Attack Raises Cybersecurity Questions

Looking for lots more answers on net neutrality docket. If the FCC was subject to multiple DDoS attacks that affected input in the Open Internet comment docket, leading House Democrats say that raises questions about the FCC’s cybersecurity preparedness that need answers. That came in letters to the FCC and National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center. “We ask you to examine these serious problems and irregularities that raise doubts about the fairness, and perhaps even the legitimacy, of the FCC’s process in its net neutrality proceeding,” the Democratic legislators said. “Giving the public an opportunity to comment in an open proceeding such as this one is crucial – so that the FCC can consider the full impact of its proposals, and treat everyone who would be affected fairly.” Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Brian Schatz of Hawaii had asked FCC Chairnman Ajit Pai for an explanation of the attacks. But the response—that they were “non-traditional” attaocks–only created new questions, the letters to the FCC and NCCIC said. That includes: •”What ‘additional solutions’ is the FCC pursuing to ‘further protect the system,’ as was mentioned in the FCC’s response? •”According to the FCC, the alleged cyberattacks blocked ‘new human visitors … from visiting the comment filing system.’ Yet, the FCC, consulting with the FBI, determined that ‘the attack did not rise to the level of a major incident that would trigger further FBI involvement.’ What analysis did the FCC and the FBI conduct to determine that this was not a ‘major incident?’ •”What specific ‘hardware resources’ will the FCC commit to accommodate people attempting to file comments during high-profile proceedings? Does the FCC have sufficient resources for that purpose? •”Is the FCC making alternative ways available for members of the public to file comments in the net neutrality proceeding?” Signing on to the letters were Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (N.J.), Oversight and Government Reform (OGR) ranking member Elijah Cummings (Md.), E&C Communications and Technology Subcommittee Ranking Member Mike Doyle (Pa.), Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee ranking member Diana DeGette (Colo.), OGR Information Technology Subcommittee ranking member Robin Kelly (Ill.), and Government Operations Subcommittee ranking member Gerald Connolly (Va.) Some of the same Dems have asked Republican leadership of the House E&C to hold a hearing on the FCC Web issues. And last month, another group of Democrats called on the FBI to investigate the multiple DDoS attacks the FCC said it had suffered related to the docket. http://www.multichannel.com/news/congress/dems-fcc-ddos-attack-raises-cybersecurity-questions/413693

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Ten steps for combating DDoS in real time

To the uninitiated, a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack can be a scary, stressful ordeal. But don’t panic. Follow these steps by David Holmes, senior technical marketing manager: Security, F5 Networks, to successfully fight an attack: If you appear to be suffering a volumetric attack, it helps to have a historical sense of your own traffic patterns. Keep a baseline of normal traffic patterns to compare against. If you have determined that you are under a DDoS attack, record the estimated start time in your attack log. Monitor volumetric attacks. Remember to keep a monitoring web page open to indicate when the attack may be over (or mitigated). You will need to follow (up to) 10 steps for your DDoS mitigation: Step 1: Verify the attack Not all outages are caused by a DDoS attack. DNS misconfiguration, upstream routing issues, and human error are also common causes of network outages. You must first rule out these types of non-DDoS attacks and distinguish the attack from a common outage. · Rule out common outages: The faster you can verify the outage is a DDoS attack, the faster you can respond. Even if the outage was not caused by a misconfiguration or other human error, there may still be other explanations that resemble a DDoS attack. · Check outbound connectivity: Is there outbound connectivity? If not, then the attack is so severe that it is congesting all inbound and outbound traffic. Check with your usual diagnostic tools (such as traceroute, ping, and dig) and rule out all such possibilities. · Rule out global issues: Check Internet weather reports, such as Internet Health Report and the Internet Traffic Report, to determine if the attack is a global issue. · Check external network access: Attempt to access your application from an external network. Services and products that can perform this kind of monitoring include: Keynote testing and monitoring, HP SiteScope agentless monitoring, SolarWinds NetFlow Traffic Analyzer, and Downforeveryoneorjustme.com. · Confirm DNS response: Check to see if DNS is responding for your website. The following UNIX command resolves a name against the OpenDNS project server: % dig @208.67.222.222 yourdomain.com Step 2: Contact team leads. Once the attack is verified, contact the leads of the relevant teams. If you have not filled out any quick reference sheets or a contact list, create one now or use our templates. When an outage occurs, your organisation may hold a formal conference call including various operations and applications teams. If your company has such a process in place, use the meeting to officially confirm the DDoS attack with team leads. · Contact your bandwidth service provider: One of the most important calls you can make is to the bandwidth service provider. List the number for your service provider in your contact sheet. The service provider can likely confirm your attack, provide information about other customers who might be under attack, and sometimes offer remediation. · Contact your fraud team: It is especially important to invoke the fraud team as soon as the attack is verified. DDoS attacks can be used as cover to hide an infiltration. Logs that would normally show a penetration may get lost during a DDoS attack. This is why high-speed, off-box logging is so important. Step 3: Triage applications Once the attack is confirmed, triage your applications. When faced with an intense DDoS attack and limited resources, organisations have to make triage decisions. High-value assets typically generate high-value online revenue. These are the applications you will want to keep alive. Low-value applications, regardless of the level of legitimate traffic, should be purposefully disabled so their CPU and network resources can be put to the aid of higher-value applications. You may need the input of team leads to do this. Ultimately, these are financial decisions. Make them appropriately. Create an application triage list; it takes only a few minutes to fill one out, and will greatly assist in making tough application decisions while combating an actual DDoS event. Decide which applications are low priority and can be disabled during the attack. This may include internal applications. Step 4: Protect partners and remote users. · Whitelist partner addresses: Very likely you have trusted partners who must have access to your applications or network. If you have not already done so, collect the IP addresses that must always be allowed access and maintain that list. You may have to populate the whitelist in several places throughout the network, including at the firewall, the Application Delivery Controller (ADC), and perhaps even with the service provider, to guarantee that traffic to and from those addresses is unhindered. · Protect VPN users: Modern organisations will whitelist or provide quality-of-service for remote SSL VPN users. Typically this is done at an integrated firewall/ VPN server, which can be important if you have a significant number of remote employees. Step 5: Identify the attack Now is the time to gather technical intelligence about the attack. The first question you need to answer is “What are the attack vectors?” There are four types of DDoS attack types, these are · Volumetric: flood-based attacks that can be at layers 3, 4, or 7; · Asymmetric: designed to invoke timeouts or session-state changes; · Computational: designed to consume CPU and memory; and · Vulnerability-based: designed to exploit software vulnerabilities. By now you should have called your bandwidth service provider with the information on your contacts list. If the attack is solely volumetric in nature, the service provider will have informed you and may have already taken steps at DDoS remediation. Even though well-equipped organisations use existing monitoring solutions for deep-packet captures, you may encounter cases where you have to use packet captures from other devices, such as the ADC, to assist in diagnosing the problem. These cases include: SSL attack vectors and FIPS-140. Step 6: Evaluate source address mitigation options If Step 5 has identified that the campaign uses advanced attack vectors that your service provider cannot mitigate (such as slow-and-low attacks, application attacks, or SSL attacks), then the next step is to consider the following question: “How many sources are there?” If the list of attacking IP addresses is small, you can block them at your firewall. Another option would be to ask your bandwidth provider to block these addresses for you. · Geoblocking: The list of attacking IP address may be too large to block at the firewall. Each address you add to the block list will slow processing and increase CPU. But you may still be able to block the attackers if they are all in the same geographic region or a few regions you can temporarily block. The decision to block entire regions via geolocation must be made as a business decision. Finally, if there are many attackers in many regions, but you don’t care about any region except your own, you may also use geolocation as a defence by blocking all traffic except that originating from your region. · Mitigating multiple attack vectors: If there are too many attackers to make blocking by IP address or region feasible, you may have to develop a plan to unwind the attack by mitigating “backwards”; that is, defending the site from the database tier to the application tier, and then to the web servers, load balancers, and finally the firewalls. You may be under pressure to remediate the opposite way; for example, mitigating at layer 4 to bring the firewall back up. However, be aware that as you do this, attacks will start to reach further into the data centre. Step 7: Mitigate specific application attacks If you have reached this step, the DDoS attack is sufficiently sophisticated to render mitigation by the source address ineffective. Tools such as the Low Orbit Ion Cannon, the Apache Killer, or the Brobot may generate attacks that fall into this category. These attacks look like normal traffic at layer 4, but have anomalies to disrupt services in the server, application, or database tier. To combat these attacks, you must enable or construct defences at the application delivery tier. Once you have analysed the traffic in Step 4, if the attack appears to be an application-layer attack, the important questions are: Can you identify the malicious traffic? Does it appear to be generated by a known attack tool? Specific application-layer attacks can be mitigated on a case-by-case basis with specific F5 counter-measures. Attackers today often use multiple types of DDoS attack vector, but most of those vectors are around layers 3 and 4, with only one or two application-layer attacks thrown in. We hope this is the case for you, which will mean you are nearly done with your DDoS attack. Step 8: Increase application-level security posture. If you have reached this step in a DDoS attack, you’ve already mitigated at layers 3 and 4 and evaluated mitigations for specific application attacks, and you are still experiencing issues. That means the attack is relatively sophisticated, and your ability to mitigate will depend in part on your specific applications. Asymmetric application attack: Very likely you are being confronted with one of the most difficult of modern attacks: the asymmetric application attack. This kind of attack can be: · A flood of recursive GETs of the entire application. · A repeated request of some large, public object (such as an MP4 or PDF file). · A repeated invocation of an expensive database query. Leveraging your security perimeter: The best defence against these asymmetric attacks depends on your application. For example, financial organisations know their customers and are able to use login walls to turn away anonymous requests. Entertainment industry applications such as hotel websites, on the other hand, often do not know the user until the user agrees to make the reservation. For them, a CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turning test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) might be a better deterrent. Choose the application-level defence that makes the most sense for your application: A login wall, human detection or real browser enforcement. Step 9: Constrain resources. If all the previous steps fail to stop the DDoS attack, you may be forced to simply constrain resources to survive the attack. This technique turns away both good and bad traffic. In fact, rate limiting often turns away 90 to 99 percent of desirable traffic while still enabling the attacker to drive up costs at your data centre. For many organisations, it is better to just disable or “blackhole” an application rather than rate-limit it. · Rate shaping: If you find that you must rate-limit, you can provide constraints at different points in a multi-tier DDoS architecture. At the network tier, where layer 3 and layer 4 security services reside, use rate shaping to prevent TCP floods from overwhelming your firewalls and other layer 4 devices. Connection limits: Connection limits can be an effective mitigation technique, but they do not work well with connection-multiplexing features. Application tier connection limits should provide the best protection to prevent too much throughput from overwhelming your web servers and application middleware. Step 10: Manage public relations Hacktivist organisations today use the media to draw attention to their causes. Many hacktivists inform the media that an attack is underway and may contact the target company during the attack. Financial organisations, in particular, may have policies related to liability that prevent them from admitting an attack is underway. This can become a sticky situation for the public relations manager. The manager may say something like, “We are currently experiencing some technical challenges, but we are optimistic that our customers will soon have full access to our online services.” Journalists, however, may not accept this type of hedging, especially if the site really does appear to be fully offline. In one recent case, a reporter called a bank’s local branch manager and asked how the attack was proceeding. The branch manager, who had not received media coaching, responded, “It’s awful, we’re getting killed!” If the DDoS attack appears to be a high-profile hacktivist attack, prepare two statements: · For the press: If your industry policies allow you to admit when you are being externally attacked, do so and be forthright about it. If policy dictates that you must deflect the inquiry, cite technical challenges but be sure to prepare the next statement. · For internal staff, including anyone who might be contacted by the press: Your internal statement should provide cues about what to say and what not to say to media, or even better, simply instruct your staff to direct all inquiries related to the event back to the PR manager. Include a phone number. Anton Jacobsz, managing director at Networks Unlimited, a value-adding reseller of F5 solutions throughout Africa, notes that it is the organisations focusing on a holistic security strategy that are considered forward-looking and ahead of the digital economy curve. “In a digital age – where sensitive or personal information is at risk of being exposed, and where geo-location and sensor-based tools track movements – organisations need to be prepared for a cyber attack. It has become essential to scrutinise security throughout the entire operation and offerings in order to build the strongest cornerstones for establishing trust between company, employees and consumers,” says Jacobsz. Source: http://www.itnewsafrica.com/2017/06/ten-steps-for-combating-ddos-in-real-time/

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Ten steps for combating DDoS in real time