Tag Archives: network

DoS scum attacked one-third of the ‘net between 2015 and 2017

Even CHARGEN services are hosed, daily, says CAIDA study One-third of Internet hosts with IPv4 addresses were subject to denial of service attacks in the last two years.…

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DoS scum attacked one-third of the ‘net between 2015 and 2017

Mirai copycats fired the IoT-cannon at game hosts, researchers find

After first wave attacks ended, thing-herders took aim at PlayStation, XBOX and Valve The Mirai botnet that took down large chunks of the Internet in 2016 was notable for hosing targets like Krebs on Security and domain host Dyn, but research presented at a security conference last week suggests a bunch of high-profile game networks were also targeted.…

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Mirai copycats fired the IoT-cannon at game hosts, researchers find

Internet hygiene still stinks despite botnet and ransomware flood

Millions of must-be-firewalled services sitting wide open Network security has improved little over the last 12 months – millions of vulnerable devices are still exposed on the open internet, leaving them defenceless to the next big malware attack.…

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Internet hygiene still stinks despite botnet and ransomware flood

Blame the US, not China, for the recent surge in massive cyberattacks

The internet’s new scourge is hugely damaging global attacks that harness armies of routers, cameras, and other connected gadgets—the so-called Internet of Things (IoT)—to direct floods of traffic that can take down swaths of the network. The blame so far has largely fallen on the Chinese manufacturers who churn out devices with shoddy security on the cheap. But all those devices have to be plugged in somewhere for them to used maliciously. And American consumers are increasingly the ones plugging them in. Nearly a quarter of the internet addresses behind these distributed denial-of-service, or DDoS, attacks are located in the United States, newresearch from network services firm Akamai has found. Some 180,000 US IP addresses took part in DDoS attacks in the last quarter of 2016, it found—more than four times as many as addresses originating in China. Akamai’s findings are particularly notable because the armies of hacked devices that carry out DDoS attacks—such as those controlled by the Mirai malware—don’t bother covering their tracks. That means the IP addresses are far more likely to genuinely correspond to a location within a certain country, the report’s authors write. The findings also end an era of Chinese dominance in DDoS attacks. Over the previous year, China has accounted for the highest proportion of IP addresses taking part in such attacks globally. Now the US is the clear leader, accounting for 24% of such addresses. The UK and Germany are a distant second and third. (To be clear, though, wherever the attacking devices’ IP addresses are, the person controlling them could be located anywhere.) The huge number of devices taking part in DDoS attacks in the US means regulation there, and in Europe, could stem the flood of damaging traffic. Of course, IoT regulation is a thorny issue—essentially, no US federal agency really wants to take the problem on—and there remain technical questions over how to actually go about blocking the attacks. Still, it’s a lot clearer now that simply pointing the finger at China isn’t enough. Source: https://qz.com/912419/akamai-akam-report-a-quarter-of-ddos-ip-addresses-are-now-from-the-us/

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Blame the US, not China, for the recent surge in massive cyberattacks

DDoS prevention as part of a robust I.T. Strategy

A decade ago the idea of loss prevention (LP) had been limited to the idea of theft of merchandise. With the advent of online retailing, retailers have discovered that loss must be viewed more broadly to “intended sales income that was not and cannot be realized” [Beck and Peacock, 28]. While Beck and Peacock regard malicious loses such as vandalism as part of sales that cannot be realized, Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks certainly could fit with that definition. Unlike other kinds of LP, where the attempt of the thief is to conceal their activities, a DDoS attack is designed for maximal visibility so the purpose of the attack is to deny the target customer’s access, and especially susceptible are businesses that have online payment gateways [Gordon, 20] which today includes many business and non-profit entities. Particularly problematic for CIOs is that the nature of DDoS attacks is constantly changing. Many of these attacks occur at networking layers below the application level, which means for the CIO that buying an off-the-shelf software product is unlikely to provide an effective countermeasure [Oliveira et al, 19]. Of course, the determination of financial impact is an important consideration when weighing allocations of the IT security budget. While it is clear that the “loss of use and functionality” constitutes true losses to a company [Hovav and D’Arcy, 98], estimating a potential loss encounters difficulties given the lack of historical data and a perceived risk to putting an exact figure upon security breach losses. This presents a problem for the CIO because of the need to show ROI on security investments [Hovav and D’Arcy, 99]. Yet, a successful DDoS attack has the potential to cost a company millions of dollars in real financial losses from the direct costs of work time, equipment leases, and legal costs to the indirect costs, such as, loss of competitive advantage and damage done to the company’s brand. The direct cost of “a more complex breach that affects a cross-section of a complex organization” can often exceed £500,000 (624,000 USD) and does not include additional five or six figure fines if government regulatory agencies are involved [Walker and Krausz, 30]. If the CIO cannot buy an off-the-shelf software product to prepare against a DDoS attack, how does the CIO develop an I.T. security strategy that is appropriate to this specific threat? While this is by no means an exhaustive list: here are a few approaches that one can take that may help to developing an effective I.T. strategy that can deal with the DDoS threat. (1) Accept that developing an I.T. strategy effective against mitigating loss caused by DDoS requires resources, but your business is worth protecting. (2) Remember that the purpose of technology is to connect your business to people [Sharif, 348], and that connectivity is itself an asset that has real value. (3) Developing effective business partners can help you ensure business continuity. These partnerships could be with consultants, alliance partnerships that have successfully dealt with DDoS attacks, or businesses that specialize in dealing with this kind of security issue. Bibliography Beck, Adrian, and Colin Peacock. New Loss Prevention: Redefining Shrinkage Management. NY: Palgrave Macmillan, 2009. Gordon, Sarah, “DDoS attacks grow,” Network Security (May 2015), 2, 20. Horvav, Anat, and John D’Arcy, “The Impact of Denial-of-Service attack announcements on the market value of firms,” Risk Management and Insurance Review 6 (2003), 97-121. Oliveira, Rui André, Nuno Larajeiro, and Marco Vieira, “Assessing the security of web service frameworks against Denial of Service attacks,” The Journal of Systems and Software 109 (2015), 18-31. Sharif, Amir M. “Realizing the business benefits of enterprise IT,” Handbook of Business Strategy 7 (2006), 347-350. Walker, John, and Michael Krausz, The True Cost of Information Security Breaches: A Business Approach. Cambrigdeshire, UK: IS Governance Publishing, 2013. David A. Falk, , Ph.D. Director of IT DOSarrest Internet Security

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DDoS prevention as part of a robust I.T. Strategy

DDoS Attacks on the Rise—Here’s What Companies Need to Do

Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks have been going on for years. But in recent months they seem to have gained much more attention, in part because of high-profile incidents that affected millions of users. For instance, in late October 2016 a massive DDoS assault on Domain Name System (DNS) service provider Dyn temporarily shut down some of the biggest sites on the Internet. The incident affected users in much of the East Coast of the United States as well as data centers in Texas, Washington, and California. Dyn said in statements that tens of millions of IP addresses hit its infrastructure during the attack. Just how much attention DDoS is getting these days is indicated by a recent blog post by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI) at Carnegie Mellon University. The post, entitled, “Distributed Denial of Service Attacks: Four Best Practices for Prevention and Response,” became SEI’s most visited of the year after just two days, said a spokesman for the institute. To help defend against such attacks, organizations need to understand that this is not just an IT concern. “While DDoS attack prevention is partly a technical issue, it is also largely a business issue,” said Rachel Kartch, analysis team lead at the CERT Division of SEI, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense and operated by CMU, and author of the DDoS post. Fortunately there are steps organizations can take to better protect themselves against DDoS attacks, and Kartch describes these in the post. In general, organizations should begin planning for attacks in advance, because it’s much more difficult to respond after an attack is already under way. “While DDoS attacks can’t be prevented, steps can be taken to make it harder for an attacker to render a network unresponsive,” Kartch noted. To fortify IT resources against a DDoS attack, it’s vital to make the architecture as resilient as possible. Fortifying network architecture is an important step not just in DDoS network defense, Kartch said, but in ensuring business continuity and protecting the organization from any kind of outage. To help disperse organizational assets and avoid presenting a single rich target to an attacker. organizations should locate servers in different data centers; ensure that data centers are located on different networks; ensure that data centers have diverse paths, and ensure that the data centers, or the networks that the data centers are connected to, have no notable bottlenecks or single points of failure. For those organizations that depend on servers and Internet presence, it’s important to make sure resources are geographically dispersed and not located in a single data center, Kartch said. “If resources are already geographically dispersed, it is important to view each data center as having more than one pipe to [the] Internet, and ensure that not all data centers are connected to the same Internet provider,” she said. While these are best practices for general business continuity and disaster recovery, they will also help ensure organizational resiliency in response to a DDoS attack. The post also describes other practices for defending against DDoS. One is to deploy appropriate hardware that can handle known attack types and use the options in the hardware that can protect network resources. While bolstering resources will not prevent a DDoS attack from happening, Kartch said, doing so will lessen the impact of an attack. Certain types of DDoS attacks have existed for a long time, and a lot of network and security hardware is capable of mitigating them. For example, many commercially available network firewalls, web application firewalls, and load balancers can defend against protocol attacks and application-layer attacks, Kartch said. Specialty DDoS mitigation appliances also can protect against these attacks. Another good practice is to scale up network bandwidth. “For volumetric attacks, the solution some organizations have adopted is simply to scale bandwidth up to be able to absorb a large volume of traffic if necessary,” Kartch said. “That said, volumetric attacks are something of an arms race, and many organizations won’t be able or willing to pay for the network bandwidth needed to handle some of the very large attacks we have recently seen. This is primarily an option for very large organizations and service providers.” It’s likely that DDoS attacks will continue to be a major issue for organizations. A 2016 study by content delivery network provider Akamai said these types of incidents are rising in number as well as in severity and duration. The company reported a 125% increase in DDoS attacks year over year and a 35% rise in the average attack duration. Cyber security executives need to make it a top priority to protect their organizations against DDoS. Source: http://www.itbestofbreed.com/sponsors/bitdefender/best-tech/ddos-attacks-rise-here-s-what-companies-need-do

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DDoS Attacks on the Rise—Here’s What Companies Need to Do

Four evolved cyber-threats APAC organisations must pay attention to in 2017

US$81 million stolen from a Bangladesh bank. 500 million Yahoo! accounts swiped. A DDoS attack that brought down much of the internet. 2016’s cyber-attack headlines proved more than ever that companies have a visibility problem – they cannot see what is happening beneath the surface of their own networks. Based on Darktrace’s observations, the following predictions demonstrate the need for a new method of cyber defence – an immune system approach, to keep up with the fast-evolving threats that await us in 2017. 1. Attackers Will Not Just Steal Data – They Will  Change  It Today’s most savvy attackers are moving away from pure data theft or website hacking, to attacks that have a more subtle target – data integrity. We’ve seen ex-students successfully hack college computers to modify their grades. In 2013, Syrian hackers tapped into the Associated Press’ Twitter account and broadcasted fake reports that President Obama had been injured in explosions at the White House. Within minutes the news caused a 150-point drop in the Dow Jones. In 2017, attackers will use their ability to hack information systems not to just make a quick buck, but to cause long-term, reputational damage to individuals or groups, by eroding trust in data itself. The scenario is worrying for industries that rely heavily on public confidence. A laboratory that cannot vouch for the fidelity of medical test results, or a bank that has had account balances tampered with, are examples of organisations at risk. Governments may also fall foul of such attacks, as critical data repositories are altered, and public distrust in national institutions rises. These ‘trust attacks’ are also expected to disrupt the financial markets. An example of this is falsifying market information to cause ill-informed investments. We have already glimpsed the potential of disrupted M&A activity through cyber-attacks – is it a coincidence that the recent disclosure of the Yahoo hack happened while Verizon was in the process of acquiring the company? These attacks even have the power to sway public opinion. Hillary Clinton’s election campaign suffered a blow when thousands of emails from her campaign were leaked. An even graver risk would not be simply leaked emails but manipulation to create a false impression that a candidate has done something illegal or dishonourable. 2. More Attacks and Latent Threats Will Come from Insiders Insiders are often the source of the most dangerous attacks. They are harder to detect, because they use legitimate user credentials. They can do maximum damage, because they have knowledge of and privileged access to information required for their jobs, and can hop between network segments. A disgruntled employee looking to do damage stands a good chance through a cyber-attack. But insider threats are not just staff with chips on their shoulders. Non-malicious insiders are just as much of a vulnerability as deliberate saboteurs. How many times have links been clicked before checking email addresses? Or security policy contravened to get a job done quicker, such as uploading confidential documents on less secure public file hosting services? We can no longer reasonably expect 100 percent of employees and network users to be impervious to cyber-threats that are getting more advanced – they won’t make the right decision, every time. Organisations need to combat this insider threat by gaining visibility into their internal systems, rather than trying to reinforce their network perimeter. We don’t expect our skin to protect us from viruses – so we shouldn’t expect a firewall to stop advanced cyber-threats which, in many cases, originate from the inside in the first place. Just in the past year, immune system defence techniques have caught a plethora of insider threats, including an employee deliberately exfiltrating a customer database a week before handing in his notice; a game developer sending source code to his home email address so that he could work remotely over the weekend; a system administrator uploading network information to their home broadband router – the list goes on. Due to the increasing sophistication of external hackers, we are going to have a harder time distinguishing between insiders and external attackers who have hijacked legitimate user credentials. 3. The Internet of Things Will Become the Internet of Vulnerabilities According to IDC, 8.6 billion connected things will be in use across APAC in 2020, with more than half of major new business processes incorporating some element of IoT. These smart devices are woefully insecure in many cases – offering a golden opportunity for hackers. 2016 has seen some of the most innovative corporate hacks involving connected things. In the breach of DNS service Dyn in October, malware spread rapidly across an unprecedented number of devices including webcams and digital video recorders. In Singapore and Germany, we saw smaller but similar incidents with StarHub and Deutsche Telekom. Many of this year’s IoT hacks have gone unreported – they include printers, air conditioners and even a coffee machine. These attacks used IoT devices as stepping stones, from which to jump to more interesting areas of the network. However, sometimes the target is the device itself. One of the most shocking threats that we saw was when the fingerprint scanner that controlled the entrance to a major manufacturing plant was compromised – attackers were caught in the process of changing biometric data with their own fingerprints to gain physical access. In another attack, the videoconferencing unit at a sports company was hacked, and audio files were being transferred back to an unknown server in another continent. Want to be a fly on the wall in a FTSE100 company’s boardroom? Try hacking the video camera. 4. Artificial Intelligence Will Go Dark Artificial intelligence is exciting for many reasons – self-driving cars, virtual assistants, better weather forecasting etc. But artificial intelligence will also be used by attackers to wield highly sophisticated and persistent attacks that blend into the noise of busy networks. We have already seen the first glimpses of these types of attack. Polymorphic malware, which changes its attributes mid-attack to evade detection, has reinforced the obsoleteness of signature-based detection methods. What is emerging is a next generation of attacks that use AI-powered, customised code to emulate the behaviours of specific users so accurately as to fool even skilled security personnel. In 2017, we can expect AI to be applied to all stages of a cyber-attacker’s mission. This includes the ability to craft sophisticated and bespoke phishing campaigns that will successfully dupe even the most threat-conscious employee. Next year’s attacker can see more than your social media profile – they know that your 10am meeting with your supplier is being held at their new headquarters. At 9:15am, as you get off the train, an email with the subject line ‘Directions to Our Office’ arrives in your inbox, apparently from the person that you are meeting. Now, do you click the map link in that email? Source: http://www.mis-asia.com/tech/security/four-evolved-cyber-threats-apac-organisations-must-pay-attention-to-in-2017/?page=3

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Four evolved cyber-threats APAC organisations must pay attention to in 2017

New Mirai Worm Knocks 900K Germans Offline

More than 900,000 customers of German ISP  Deutsche Telekom  (DT) were knocked offline this week after their Internet routers got infected by a new variant of a computer worm known as  Mirai.  The malware wriggled inside the routers via a newly discovered vulnerability in a feature that allows ISPs to remotely upgrade the firmware on the devices. But the new Mirai malware turns that feature off once it infests a device, complicating DT’s cleanup and restoration efforts. Security experts say the multi-day outage is a sign of things to come as cyber criminals continue to aggressively scour the Internet of Things (IoT) for vulnerable and poorly-secured routers, Internet-connected cameras and digital video recorders (DVRs). Once enslaved, the IoT devices can be used and rented out for a variety of purposes — from conducting massive denial-of-service attacks capable of knocking large Web sites offline to helping cybercriminals stay anonymous online. This new variant of Mirai builds on malware source code released at the end of September. That leak came a little more a week after a botnet based on Mirai was used in a record-sized attack that caused KrebsOnSecurity to go offline for several days. Since then, dozens of new Mirai botnets have emerged, all competing for a finite pool of vulnerable IoT systems that can be infected. Until this week, all Mirai botnets scanned for the same 60+ factory default usernames and passwords used by millions of IoT devices. But the criminals behind one of the larger Mirai botnets apparently decided to add a new weapon to their arsenal, incorporating exploit code published earlier this month for a security flaw in specific routers made by Zyxel and Speedport. These companies act as original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) that specialize in building DSL modems that ISPs then ship to customers. The vulnerability exists in communications protocols supported by the devices that ISPs can use to remotely manage all of the customer-premises routers on their network. According to BadCyber.com, which first blogged about the emergence of the new Mirai variant, part of the problem is that Deutsche Telekom does not appear to have followed the best practice of blocking the rest of the world from remotely managing these devices as well. “The malware itself is really friendly as it closes the vulnerability once the router is infected,” BadCyber noted. “It performs [a] command which should make the device ‘secure,’ until next reboot. The first one closes port 7547 and the second one kills the telnet service, making it really hard for the ISP to update the device remotely.” [For the Geek Factor 5 readership out there, the flaw stems from the way these routers parse incoming traffic destined for Port 7547using communications protocols known as TR-069]. DT has been urging customers who are having trouble to briefly disconnect and then reconnect the routers, a process which wipes the malware from the device’s memory. The devices should then be able to receive a new update from DT that plugs the vulnerability. That is, unless the new Mirai strain gets to them first.  Johannes Ullrich , dean of security research at  The SANS Technology Institute , said this version of Mirai aggressively scans the Internet for new victims, and that SANS’s research has shown vulnerable devices are compromised by the new Mirai variant within five to ten minutes of being plugged into the Internet. Ullrich said the scanning activity conducted by the new Mirai variant is so aggressive that it can create hangups and crashes even for routers that are are not vulnerable to this exploit. “Some of these devices went down because of the sheer number of incoming connections” from the new Mirai variant, Ullrich said. “They were listening on Port 7547 but were not vulnerable to this exploit and were still overloaded with the number of connections to that port.” FEEDING THE CRIME MACHINE Allison Nixon , director of security research at Flashpoint, said this latest Mirai variant appears to be an attempt to feed fresh victims into one of the larger and more established Mirai botnets out there today. Nixon said she suspects this particular botnet is being rented out in discrete chunks to other cybercriminals. Her suspicions are based in part on the fact that the malware phones home to a range of some 256 Internet addresses that for months someone has purchased for the sole purpose of hosting nothing but servers used to control multiple Mirai botnets. “The malware points to some [Internet addresses] that are in ranges which were purchased for the express purpose of running Mirai,” Nixon said. “That range does nothing but run Mirai control servers on it, and they’ve been doing it for a while now. I would say this is probably part of a commercial service because purchasing this much infrastructure is not cheap. And you generally don’t see people doing this for kicks, you see them doing it for money.” Nixon said the criminals behind this new Mirai variant are busy subdividing their botnet — thought to be composed of several hundred thousand hacked IoT devices — among multiple, distinct control servers. This approach, she said, addresses two major concerns among cybercriminals who specialize in building botnets that are resold for use in huge distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. The first is that extended DDoS attacks which leverage firepower from more bots than are necessary to take down a target host can cause the crime machine’s overall bot count to dwindle more quickly than the botnet can replenish itself with newly infected IoT devices — greatly diminishing the crime machine’s strength and earning power. “I’ve been watching a lot of chatter in the DDoS community, and one of the topics that frequently comes up is that there are many botnets out there where the people running them don’t know each other, they’ve just purchased time on the botnet and have been assigned specific slots on it,” Nixon said. “Long attacks would end up causing the malware or infected machines to crash, and the attack and would end up killing the botnet if it was overused. Now it looks like someone has architected a response to that concern, knowing that you have to preserve bots as much as you can and not be excessive with the DDoS traffic you’re pushing.” Nixon said dividing the Mirai botnet into smaller sections which each answer to multiple control servers also makes the overall crime machine more resistant to takedown efforts by security firms and researchers. “This is an interesting development because a lot of the response to Mirai lately has been to find a Mirai controller and take it down,” Nixon said. “Right now, the amount of redundant infrastructure these Mirai actors have is pretty significant, and it suggests they’re trying to make their botnets more difficult to take down.” Nixon said she worries that the aggressive Mirai takedown efforts by the security community may soon prompt the crooks to adopt far more sophisticated and resilient methods of keeping their crime machines online. “We have to realize that the takedown option is not going to be there forever with these IoT botnets,” she said. Source: https://krebsonsecurity.com/2016/11/new-mirai-worm-knocks-900k-germans-offline/

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New Mirai Worm Knocks 900K Germans Offline

Three ways to prevent a DDoS disaster this Black Friday

Black Friday will be a big day for retailers — and hopefully for all the right reasons. Some of the biggest shopping days of the year are upon us. But while retailers are focused on ensuring that they cope with huge peaks in online and in-store sales, are they as prepared as they need to be to defend against major distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks? Avoiding a cyber-crime catastrophe Black Friday is here (along with the increasingly popular Cyber Monday). As ever, crowds of shoppers will flock to retailers’ stores and websites in search of rock-bottom prices. And this will mean a huge increase in sales for both physical and online stores. Black Friday may be a sales bonanza but it’s also a period of high vulnerability that criminals could exploit to maximise the threat to a retailer’s business. With Christmas sales accounting for a sizeable chunk of most retailers’ annual revenues, from a criminal’s perspective, there could hardly be a better time to launch a cyber attack. What’s more, with systems already creaking under the load of peak volumes, it might not take much of a straw to break the camel’s back. The last thing a retailer wants is for their business to spectacularly and very visibly come to a sudden halt because they can’t defend against and mitigate a major distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. Retailers face a growing threat Talk of cyber attacks are more than mere scaremongering – the threat is very real. For example, in September, the release of the Mirai code — a piece of malware that infects IoT devices enabling them to be used for DDoS attacks — opened a Pandora’s box of opportunities for ruthless cyber entrepreneurs who want to disrupt their target markets and exploit the vulnerabilities and weaknesses of companies who honestly serve their customers. This code gives criminals the ability to orchestrate legions of unsecured Internet of Things (IoT) devices to act as unwitting participants in targeted DDoS attacks. These objects could be anything from domestic hubs and routers, to printers and digital video recorders — as long as they’re connected to the internet. The latest large DDoS attacks have used botnets just like this — proving that the bad guys are multiplying and, perhaps, gearing up for bigger things. Prevention is better than the cure There are no easy answers to the question of how to secure IoT smart devices — especially at the ‘budget conscious’ end of the market. That’s why we expect that these DDoS attacks will continue to proliferate, meaning that targeted DDoS attacks of increasing scale and frequency will almost certainly occur as a result. So how can retailers defend themselves against the threat of an attack on Black Friday? Organisations have to use a combination of measures to safeguard against even the most determined DDoS attack. These include: Limiting the impact of an attack by absorbing DDoS traffic targeted at the application layer, deflecting all DDoS traffic targeted at the network layer and authenticating valid traffic at the network edge. Choosing an ISP that connects directly to large carriers and other networks, as well as internet exchanges — allowing traffic to pass efficiently. Employing the services of a network-based DDoS provider — with a demonstrable track record of mitigating DDoS attacks and sinking significant data floods. This will safeguard specific IP address ranges that organisations want to protect. Black Friday will be a big day for retailers — and hopefully for all the right reasons. But in an increasingly digital world, consideration needs to be given to the IT infrastructure that underpins today’s retail business and the security strategy that protects it. Source: http://www.itproportal.com/features/three-ways-to-prevent-a-ddos-disaster-this-black-friday/

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Three ways to prevent a DDoS disaster this Black Friday