Tag Archives: ddos

DDoS attacks become smarter, faster and more severe

DDoS attacks will continue to be a serious issue in 2014 – as attackers become more agile and their tools become more sophisticated, according to Radware. Their report was compiled using data from ove…

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DDoS attacks become smarter, faster and more severe

Former hacker Mitchell Frost explains his motivation for launching a DDoS attack

In 2006, Mitchell Frost, then a 19-year-old college student at the University of Akron, used the school’s computer network to control the botnets he had created. Authorities say between August 2006 and March 2007, Frost launched a series of denial of service (DDOS) attacks against several conservative web sites, including Billoreilly.com, Anncoulter.com and Rudy Giuliani’s campaign site, Joinrudy2008.com. He is accused of taking down the O’Reilly site five times, as well as disrupting the University of Akron’s network during a DDOS attack Frost allegedly launched on a gaming server hosted by the university. Frost’s dorm room at the university was raided in March 2007. What followed, according to Frost, was a long, complicated legal battle that ultimately lead to him spending over two years behind bars and owing thousands of dollars in legal and restitution fees for his crimes. Frost was released from prison in 2012 and is now serving probation. Frost took the time to talk to CSO about his experience and delves into the reasons why he did it, his thoughts on the punishment he received and his plans for the future. Tell us about your background. How did you become so knowledgeable about computers and when did hacking become something that interested you? I started on computers around a young age and I have always had a mind that wants to keep exploring and learning. Hacking didn’t start overnight, it all started by networking really. First I wanted to be able to have music without paying for it, so I joined some chat rooms on IRC (Internet Relay Chat). IRC is not used much, it’s typically used only by smaller groups of hackers and gamers. When I was younger I would spend many hours in a row on the computer, and when I woke up or had free time, just continue on with what I was working on. You build skills and make connections with others and keep moving up until you have background in hacking. Let’s just say I built my way up over the years 2000-2007. What inspired you to do the kind of hacking you did in 2006 and 2007 to those conservative web sites? What were you hoping to accomplish by hacking those particular sites? How did you choose your targets and why? In 2006, I was young and, even at that age, I could see there was a lot of corruption and media propaganda going on in newspapers and on television. At that time, I had a rather large and complicated botnet. With the botnet, I was able to use the compromised computers for almost anything; key strokes, DDOS, servers, passwords, pranks. I had several botnets over the years from a few to thousands and didn’t do a whole lot of DDOS on servers because I had no need to. I decided that I had to do something about what I was seeing in the world around me, so I knocked a couple of websites offline at the time thinking it will prevent the hate and conflict and fear mongering from being seen by people. When it became clear you were going to face punishment for the attacks, did you think it would mean jail time? They raided me in March of 2007 right after spring break. They took some computer stuff and took my roommate’s stuff and had three agencies do the raid (FBI, Secret Service, Homeland Security) all with guns pointed right at my head. They brought me into a room and said “if you help yourself now it will be easier at sentencing.” I didn’t answer any questions. They released me and didn’t say much. I was scared shitless after that. I didn’t know what to do. I remember now going to a class after the raid to take a math test and was shaking so bad. About one day later, they expelled me from the school, even though I was not charged with anything yet. I moved back home and then contacted the Federal Public Defenders office in Cleveland and was assigned a lawyer. He said cases like mine take time and to stay out of trouble and he would get back to me. I moved back home and got a job working as a carpet-cleaning technician. From 2007 and on, I tried to live a normal life but had that fear that something was coming. I ended up meeting my wife. We fell in love and she got pregnant in December of 2009. Around May of 2010, my lawyer said I randomly received a judge and that it didn’t look good because of her previous sentencing history. I was hoping for maybe a small amount of time or probation, considering I did not get arrested at the time of the raid in March 2007 and had not yet. I was living in fear for almost 4 years, not going to friends or out to parties and all that. The judge ended up giving me 30 months and tried to place me under arrest right at the sentencing hearing. When she did this, it took the prosecutor and my lawyer to walk up to the bench and say I am not a flight risk with a newborn on the way and I knew about these potential charges for three years, so why couldn’t I self-report? She finally agreed to let me self-report so I can tie up some things with my family before my time. There was some debate after your sentencing about whether or not the penalty was too harsh. Do you think it was too extreme? Way too extreme. Who was the victim? Yes, a couple of people had their servers down for a small period of time, but the jacked-up estimates of the damages were over inflated. Example: they said it took $10,000 for them to press one button on one switch to get access back to the network. The reasoning for the sentence has to do with amount of money lost, etc. Bill O’Reilly said he needed to spend $300,000 to upgrade his systems. My lawyer did not fight or really look into their claims of money loss. I think they should of come to some plea with me within a year of the initial raid so I could of dealt with this problem and moved on with my life. Maybe do 3-4 months in some low-security prison and some intensive probation would have been the same. Now it will end up costing me about 10 years of my life — 2006 started it and by the time I’m off probation it will be 2016. All for taking some servers offline. You tell me: is that fair? What has this experience taught you? The experience is not over yet and is far from. I have learned to keep to myself when I see something unjust or unfair or unbalanced all I can do is stay clear of it and talk to people I know or influence and explain my point of view without any damages, physical or monetary. Last year, there was a lot of sadness and discussion around the suicide of Reddit co-founder Aaron Schwartz. As you know, Schwartz was facing a trial after being arrested on allegations of breaching a computer network to download millions of pages of documents kept at MIT. Many feel he was being too harshly prosecuted for the crime and it drove him to suicide. What are your thoughts on that, having faced a sentence yourself? I am very familar with Aaron Schwartz. Did you know he chose to take his case to trial because he was not guilty? He was murdered and it was made to look like a suicide. Who would ignore a plea deal with no jail time, wait for trial and then commit suicide? All he did was download some stuff from the MIT library — most of it was like 30 years old. He was prosecuted because of his ties to a grassroots movement for Internet freedom. What’s next for you? What are you plans for the future? I am rebuilding my life the best I can for having limited resources. I was released Election Day 2012. I was stuck living in a halfway house in the slums of Toledo, Ohio. Then I had to go up the chain of the BOP and the halfway house to get released to home detention. That took about 2.5 months. I started probation on March 8th, 2013. I work at a small store in a town where my wife’s parents let us live in a rental, so we pay them what we can. I pretty much cannot go to school because I owe so much to U of Akron and I have $50,000 in fines and restitution. They take a percentage of my pay each check to give to Bill O’Reilly. I guess when you’re worth $50 million, why not ruin some guy’s life and future and suck every check he makes? I guess my life is not going anywhere until I am off probation. I would like to be a wireless network security consultant, or a real news reporter for the independent media. I will continue to try and make my son and wife’s life the best I can for the position I am in. Source: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9245624/Why_I_did_it_Former_hacker_Mitchell_Frost_explains_his_motivation?source=rss_latest_content

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Former hacker Mitchell Frost explains his motivation for launching a DDoS attack

Botnet PC armies gulp down 16 MILLION logins from around the web: Find out if you’re a victim

Scheiße! Überprüfen Sie Ihre Angaben in neuen Datenbank Officials in Germany have warned that large networks of hijacked, hacker-controlled PCs – aka botnets – have harvested 16 million email address and password combinations for websites and other online services.…

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Botnet PC armies gulp down 16 MILLION logins from around the web: Find out if you’re a victim

DDoS attacks get more complex – are networks prepared?

The threat of cyber attacks from both external and internal sources is growing daily. A denial of service, or DoS, attack is one of the most common. DoS have plagued defense, civilian and commercial networks over the years, but the way they are carried out is growing in complexity. If you thought your systems were engineered to defend against a DoS attack, you may want to take another look.   Denial of service attack evolution A denial of service attack is a battle for computing resources between legitimate requests that a network and application infrastructure were designed for and illegitimate requests coming in solely to hinder the service provided or shut down the service altogether.   The first DoS attacks were primarily aimed at Layer 3 or Layer 4 of the OSI model and were designed to consume all available bandwidth, crash the system being attacked, or consume all of the available memory, connections or processing power. Some examples of these types of attacks are the Ping of Death, Teardrop, SYN flood and ICMP flood. As operating system developers, hardware vendors and network architects began to mitigate these attacks, attackers have had to adapt and discover new methods. This has led to an increase in complexity and diversity in the attacks that have been used.   Since DoS attacks require a high volume of traffic — typically more than a single machine can generate — attackers may use a botnet, which is a network of computers that are under the control of the attacker. These devices are likely to have been subverted through malicious means. This type of DoS, called a distributed denial of service (DDoS), is harder to defend against because the traffic likely will be coming from many directions.   While the goal of newer DoS attacks is the same as older attacks, the newer attacks are much more likely to be an application layer attack launched against higher level protocols such as HTTP or the Domain Name System. Application layer attacks are a natural progression for several reasons: 1) lower level attacks were well known and system architects knew how to defend against them; 2) few mechanisms, if any, were available to defend against these types of attacks; and 3) data at a higher layer is much more expensive to process, thus utilizing more computing resources.   As attacks go up the OSI stack and deeper into the application, they generally become harder to detect. This equates to these attacks being more expensive, in terms of computing resources, to defend against. If the attack is more expensive to defend against, it is more likely to cause a denial of service. More recently, attackers have been combining several DDoS attack types. For instance, an L3/L4 attack, in combination with an application layer attack, is referred to as diverse distributed denial of service or 3DoS. Internet and bandwidth growth impact DoS   Back in the mid- to late 1990s, fewer computers existed on the Internet. Connections to the Internet and other networks were smaller and not much existed in the way of security awareness. Attackers generally had less bandwidth to the Internet, but so did organizations.   Fast forward to the present and it’s not uncommon for a home connection to have 100 megabits per second of available bandwidth to the Internet. These faster connections give attackers the ability to send more data during an attack from a single device. The Internet has also become more sensitive to privacy and security, which has lead to encryption technologies such as Secure Sockets Layer/Transport Layer Security to encrypt data transmitted across a network. While the data can be transported with confidence, the trade-off is that encrypted traffic requires extra processing power, which means a device encrypting traffic typically will be under a greater load and, therefore, will be unable to process as many requests, leaving the device more susceptible to a DoS attack.   Protection against DoS attacks   As mentioned previously, DoS attacks are not simply a network issue; they are an issue for the entire enterprise. When building or upgrading an infrastructure, architects should consider current traffic and future growth. They should also have resources in place to anticipate having a DoS attack launched against their infrastructure, thereby creating a more resilient infrastructure.   A more resilient infrastructure does not always mean buying bigger iron. Resiliency and higher availability can be achieved by spreading the load across multiple devices using dedicated hardware Application Delivery Controllers (ADCs). Hardware ADCs evenly distribute the load across all types of devices, thus providing a more resilient infrastructure and also offer many offloading capabilities for technologies such as SSL and compression.   When choosing a device, architects should consider whether the device offloads some processing to dedicated hardware. When a typical server is purchased, it has a general purpose processor to handle all computing tasks. More specialized hardware such as firewalls and Active Directory Certificates offer dedicated hardware for protection against SYN floods and SSL offload. This typically allows for such devices to handle exponentially more traffic, which in turn means they are more capable to thwart an attack. Since attacks are spread across multiple levels of the OSI model, tiered protection is needed all the way from the network up to the application design. This typically equates to L3/L4 firewalls being close to the edge that they are protecting against some of the more traditional DoS attacks and more specialized defense mechanism for application layer traffic such as Web Application Firewalls (WAFs) to protect Web applications. WAFs can be a vital ally in protecting a Web infrastructure by defending against various types of malicious attacks, including DoS. As such, WAFs fill in an important void in Web application intelligence left behind by L3/L4 firewalls.   As demonstrated, many types of DoS attacks are possible and can be generated from many different angles. DoS attacks will continue to evolve at the same — often uncomfortably fast — rate as our use of technology. Understanding how these two evolutions are tied together will help network and application architects be vigilant and better weigh the options at their disposal to protect their infrastructure. Source: http://defensesystems.com/Articles/2013/12/19/DOS-attacks-complexity.aspx?admgarea=DS&Page=3

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DDoS attacks get more complex – are networks prepared?

Mobile devices increasingly used to launch sophisticated DDoS attacks

DDoS attacks still plague businesses worldwide, and cyber criminals are increasingly using mobile devices to launch attacks The threat of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against enterprise users from mobile applications is increasing as more users go mobile, according to DDoS security company Prolexic. Cyber criminals are finding mobile devices can make for a powerful attack tool – and surprisingly easy to use. “Mobile devices add another layer of complexity,” said Stuart Scholly, Prolexic President, in a press statement. “Because mobile networks use super proxies, you cannot simply use a hardware appliance to block source IP addresses as it will also block legitimate traffic. Effective DDoS mitigation requires an additional level of fingerprinting and human expertise so specific blocking signatures can be developed on-the-fly and applied in real-time.”   DDoS attacks can lead to website and server downtime, interruption in day-to-day business operations, and lead to lost revenue and wasted manpower. Prolexic discovered a 26 percent increase in DDoS attacks from Q4 2012 to Q4 2013, with a significant number of advanced DDoS attack weapons. Source: http://www.tweaktown.com/news/34862/mobile-devices-increasingly-used-to-launch-sophisticated-ddos-attacks/index.html

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Mobile devices increasingly used to launch sophisticated DDoS attacks

Dropbox hits by DDoS attack, but user data safe; The 1775 Sec claims responsibility

Dropbox website went offline last night with a hacking collecting calling itself The 1775 Sec claiming responsibility of the attack on the cloud storage company’s website. The 1775 Sec took to twitter just a few moments before Dropbox went down on Friday night claiming that they were responsible. “BREAKING NEWS: We have just compromised the @Dropbox Website http://www.dropbox.com #hacked #compromised” tweeted The 1775 Sec. This tweet was followed by a another one wherein the group claimed that it was giving Dropbox the time to fix their vulnerabilities and if they fail to do so, they should expect a Database leak. The group claimed that the hack was in honour of Aaron Swartz. Dropbox’s status page at the time acknowledged that there was a downtime and that they were ‘experiencing issues’. The hackers then revealed that their claims of a Database leak was a hoax. “Laughing our asses off: We DDoS attacked #DropBox. The site was down how exactly were we suppose to get the Database? Lulz” tweeted The 1775 Sec. The group claimed that they only launched a DDoS attack and didn’t breach Dropbox security and didn’t have access to Dropbox user data. Dropbox claimed that its website was down because of issues during “routine maintenance” rather than a malicious attack. In a statement Dropbox said “We have identified the cause, which was the result of an issue that arose during routine internal maintenance, and are working to fix this as soon as possible… We apologize for any inconvenience.” Just over an hour ago, Dropbox said that its site was back up. “Dropbox site is back up! Claims of leaked user info are a hoax. The outage was caused during internal maintenance. Thanks for your patience!” read the tweet from Dropbox. Source: http://www.techienews.co.uk/974664/dropbox-hits-ddos-user-data-safe-1775-sec-claims-responsibility/

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Dropbox hits by DDoS attack, but user data safe; The 1775 Sec claims responsibility