Feeds

Beware the Pulsing Zombies

DDoS attacks with devilish twist

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

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. ®

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Ice cream headache as black hat hacks sack Dairy Queen
I scream, you scream, we all scream 'DATA BREACH'!
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
KER-CHING! CryptoWall ransomware scam rakes in $1 MEEELLION
Anatomy of the net's most destructive ransomware threat
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
New Snowden leak: How NSA shared 850-billion-plus metadata records
'Federated search' spaffed info all over Five Eyes chums
Three quarters of South Korea popped in online gaming raids
Records used to plunder game items, sold off to low lifes
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up Big Data
Solving backup challenges and “protect everything from everywhere,” as we move into the era of big data management and the adoption of BYOD.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?