Prolexic on the Distributed Reflection Denial of Service attacks

Pierluigi Paganini October 31, 2013

Prolexic DDoS Attack Report reveals an increasing interest of cybercrime in Distributed Reflection Denial of Service technique, efficient and cost-effective.

Prolexic Quarterly Global DDoS Attack Report revealed an increasing interest of cybercrime in Distributed Reflection Denial of Service technique (DNS reflection DDoS attack aka or DrDoS) and for this reason the company specialized in DDoS mitigation solution has introduced new features in its products.

In the DNS Reflection/Amplification Attack scenario the attacker executes a huge quantity of DNS queries while spoofing the IP address of the victim. The victim DNS servers respond to the spoofed IP address, generating an important traffic to the victim.

“The attacker can modify the incoming DNS requests to produce a larger response packet from the victim DNS server that the original request, resulting in an amplified reflection attack. The incoming traffic to both the victims and primary target can reduce in quality of service, exhaustion of resources, and can eventually take down the service. “

Prolexic experts in Q3 2013 have observed a 58 percent increase in the number of attacks respect previous year, and consistently to the date proposed by the Arbor Network for the same period the attack duration went up 13,3%, but the concerning news is attacker are improving the efficiency of the attacks.

The overall infrastructure layer attacks have grown by 48 percent while application layer attacks doubled, this data suggests that cyber criminals are conducting attacks even more sophisticated non only based on the flooding of victims’ assets.

Prolexic specialists have observed a sudden rise of Distributed Reflection Denial of Service (DrDoS) attacks similar to the one conducted in March 2013 against Spamhaus, a European anti-spam firm, which drafts and commercializes blacklists containing principal sources of email spam.

Distributed Reflection Denial of Service scenario

“This quarter, the major concern is that reflection attacks are accelerating dramatically, increasing 265 percent over Q3 2012 and up 70 percent over Q2,” “The bottom line is that DDoS attackers have found an easier, more efficient way to launch high bandwidth attacks with smaller botnets and that’s concerning.” stated Prolexic president, Stuart Scholly.

Distributed Reflection Denial of Service attack combines high offensive power and high degree of anonymity for the attackers , it has a negative impact on both the victim and the intermediaries used to amplify the malicious traffic.

Prolexic believes the adoption of DrDoS attacks is likely to continue, as fewer bots are required to generate high volumes of attack traffic due to reflection and amplification techniques,” states the report.

Prolexic report revealed that the principal victims for Distributed Reflection Denial of Service attack is the gambling industry and 62 percent of the offensives were originated from China.

Distributed Reflection Denial of Service from videogame server

Why DDoS? DDoS attacks are very efficient and the economically advantageous for the attackers, the cost for this type of attack is greater respect the mitigation countermeasures.

The experts at Prolexic to improve efficiency of defense solutions and to head off a widening of this gap should look to retire obsolete protocols including as ‘Chargen’, a network test protocol widely abused in Distributed Reflection Denial of Service attacks as well as contrast the diffusion of the model of sale proposed in the underground as Attack-As-A-Service.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Distributed Reflection Denial of Service, DDoS, Prolexic)

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