Feeds

Beware the Pulsing Zombies

DDoS attacks with devilish twist

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Reducing security risks from open source software

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. ®

Mobile application security vulnerability report

More from The Register

next story
LibreSSL RNG bug fix: What's all the forking fuss about, ask devs
Blow to bit-spitter 'tis but a flesh wound, claim team
Microsoft: You NEED bad passwords and should re-use them a lot
Dirty QWERTY a perfect P@ssword1 for garbage websites
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
NUDE SNAPS AGENCY: NSA bods love 'showing off your saucy selfies'
Swapping other people's sexts is a fringe benefit, says Snowden
Own a Cisco modem or wireless gateway? It might be owned by someone else, too
Remote code exec in HTTP server hands kit to bad guys
British data cops: We need greater powers and more money
You want data butt kicking, we need bigger boots - ICO
Crooks fling banking Trojan at Japanese smut site fans
Wait - they're doing online banking with an unpatched Windows PC?
NIST told to grow a pair and kick NSA to the curb
Lrn2crypto, oversight panel tells US govt's algorithm bods
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Mobile application security vulnerability report
The alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, and the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.