Feeds

DDOS attack 'really, really tested' UltraDNS

Survives onslaught

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

A major provider of domain name system infrastructure services was hit by a distributed denial of service attack last Thursday morning described as bigger and more sophisticated than anything else it has previously seen,

writes Kevin Murphy

.

UltraDNS Corp, which provides DNS services for the likes of oracle.com and top-level domains including .info and, from January 1 2003 .org, was hit by a DDoS attack unprecedented in its scale.

While no services were actually denied, the attack has got the company concerned enough to boost its bandwidth and infrastructure to prevent further attacks. UltraDNS CEO Ben Petro compared this kind of attack to "terrorism".

Petro told ComputerWire that even though the company has seen DDoS attacks before, its network was "really, really, really tested" for the first time. The attack became apparent at about 9am US Pacific Standard Time and ended three hours later.

UltraDNS has about 40 servers distributed around the globe, using BGP anycast to share the same two IP addresses. Each server saw enough traffic to fill up more than one T1 pipe during the attack's peak.

"We have not seen an attack act in this fashion with this methodology before," said Petro. He declined to discuss many precise details, but said that up to two million packets per second were flooded into its servers and that the source IP addresses were randomly spoofed.

Petro said UltraDNS, which offers a 100% service level agreement to its customers, will have "no SLA payouts" as a result of the attack. Ram Mohan, CTO of Afilias Ltd, the custodian of .info, which subcontracts its infrastructure to UltraDNS, said the company and internet users saw "no performance degradation".

The attacks came about a month after a similar attack managed to render seven of the internet's 13 DNS root servers inaccessible for an hour. At that time, experts we spoke to said crackers attempting to cause disruption to the DNS would better serve their goal by targeting a TLD server such as .com.

Now, evidently, they have. Afilias's Mohan said: "It's almost as if they're testing various TLDs to see where the weak link is." He added that it was not as big an attack as the one that hit the root servers: "I think the attack was unprecedented in its scale but I would not characterize it as massive."

"We're trying not to link these two events, but we don't see much coincidence," said Petro. He said that smaller TLDs, such as those from countries with emerging internet economies, have infrastructures "not built to prevent these near-terrorist attacks."

"We are at risk, e-commerce is at risk and to an extent the global economy is at risk," said Petro. "If you could take down .com, what would be the cost in billions of dollars?"

US Federal law enforcement agencies have been notified. The source of DDoS attacks are notoriously hard to trace. Not only do attackers use a network of dozens, hundreds or thousands of compromized "slave" machines to launch the attacks, but these slaves spoof the source IP address on floods they send.

However, UltraDNS's network uses a technology that may give an idea of roughly where most of the slaves are located. BGP anycast allows multiple servers to announce the same IP address to the internet, so users access the server closest to them. So by seeing how much traffic hit which server, it may give a general idea of where most slaves are located, once the data is compiled.

© ComputerWire

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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!
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
Oz fed police in PDF redaction SNAFU
Give us your metadata, we'll publish your data
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
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.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.