Feeds

Beware the Pulsing Zombies

DDoS attacks with devilish twist

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Virus Bulletin Distributed denial of service attacks, one of the most difficult security risks to guard against, could become even harder to detect with the development of tools that turn agents on and off during an attack.

So called 'pulsing zombies' (which sounds like something from the Night of the Living Dead) will be difficult to detect as they will not be always active, making the isolation and removal of malware from infected machines even harder.

Also, users may not even notice they are subject to such an attack, because it would result in service degradation, not outright failure.

Pulsing Zombies

Alexander Czarnowski, chief executive of Polish security firm Avet, told the Virus Bulletin Conference in Prague today that viruses that drop pulsing zombies on vulnerable boxes can be expected as DDoS tools evolve.

He singled out Doser, a Windows virus, that carries a ping flood as its payload, and the Sadmind worm, which affects Unix boxes, as examples of the direction that virus writers are taking. Email-borne worms could become used in DDoS attacks too.

Intrusion detection systems (IDS), and egress filtering (to drop outgoing packets with a false IP address) at the router level can help, but are not a complete solution to the problem. For one thing IDS set-ups can themselves become subject to DDoS attacks via tools such as Stick.

Czarnowski's presentation re-emphasised the importance of detecting DDoS components on hosts because just a few compromised boxes, carrying agents that bounce attacks off reflector servers to disguise their origin, can have a disproportionately large effect.

The possible emergence of 'pulsing zombies' make disinfection more important than ever, especially since there's little sign (or hope) of a complete solution to DDoS attacks. ®

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.