Two PoC exploits for Memcached DDoS attacks have been released online

Pierluigi Paganini March 07, 2018

Memcached DDoS attacks – A few days after the disclosure of the World’s largest DDoS attack record that peaked a 1.7Tbps, two PoC exploits code for Memcached amplification attacks have been released online.

The technique behind Memcached DDoS attacks, is one of the coolest topics in cybersecurity at this moment.

World’s largest DDoS attack record lasted just a few days, Arbor Networks reported that earlier this month a US service provider suffered a 1.7 Tbps memcached DDoS attack.

memcached DDoS attacks Mar2018

Now two distinct proofs-of-concept (PoC) exploits code for Memcached amplification attacks have been released online, this means that anyone can use them to launch memcached DDoS attacks

One of PoC code exploits is written in Python scripting language and relies on the Shodan search engine API to obtain update a list of vulnerable Memcached servers and then involve them in memcached DDoS attacks.

The second exploit code is written in C programming and uses a pre-compiled list of vulnerable Memcached servers. The author also published the file memecache-amp-03-05-2018-rd.list that is a list of vulnerable memcached servers as of 03-05-2018.

We first read about memcached DDoS attacks when on February 28, 2018, the code hosting website GitHub was hit by the largest-ever DDoS attack that peaked at 1.3Tbps.

Memcached is a free and open source, high-performance, distributed memory caching system designed to speed up dynamic web applications by alleviating database load.

Clients communicate with memcached servers via TCP or UDP on port 11211.

The abuse of memcached servers in DDoS Attacks is quite simple, the attacker sends a request to the targeted server on port 11211 spoofing the IP address of the victim. In a memcached DDoS attack, the request sent to the server is composed of a few bytes, while the response can be tens of thousands of times bigger, resulting in an amplification attack.

Experts at Cloudflare dubbed this type of attack Memcrashed, according to the researcher the amplification technique could allow attackers to obtain an amplification factor of 51,200.

We have no doubts, the situation will get worse due to the availability online of the PoC exploit codes.

Cloudflare recommends disabling UDP support unless it’s needed and isolating memcached servers from the Internet. Internet service providers have to fix vulnerable protocols and prevent IP spoofing.

“Internet Service Providers – In order to defeat such attacks in future, we need to fix vulnerable protocols and also IP spoofing. As long as IP spoofing is permissible on the internet, we’ll be in trouble.” concluded Cloudflare.

“Developers – Please please please: Stop using UDP. If you must, please don’t enable it by default. If you do not know what an amplification attack is I hereby forbid you from ever typing SOCK_DGRAM into your editor.”

The fear for this new kind of attack represents a good opportunity for cyber criminals, crooks already started to blackmail companies asking for a ransom demand in Monero cryptocurrency to avoid being attacked via Memcached servers.

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Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – memcached DDoS attacks, cybercrime)

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