Feeds

AOL rebuts zombie network slur

Mr Clean

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

AOL has described a report which brands it as running the most zombie infected network on the internet as "meaningless" because it fails to take into account its large user base. Security firm Prolexic reports that AOL was the biggest single source of DDoS attacks over the last six months, accounting for 11.3 per cent of attacks in the US and 5.3 per cent worldwide.

But AOL spokesman Andrew Weinstein argues that its 21.7m US members meant it had 40 per cent of the US market, so figures from Prolexic that 11 per cent of hostile attacks monitored in the US can be traced back to AOL's network meant the ISP had a lower than industry average infection rate. Barrett Lyon, CTO of Prolexic, conceded that AOL had a point. "Our figures didn't take into account per-capita user base but regardless more computers on AOL are attacking online sites than from any other network. Just because a home user subscribes to a reputable brand doesn’t mean they’re safe from the online criminal fraternity."

DDoS attacks are often launched from machines compromised by malware such as Agobot and Spybot that turn them into drones on zombie attack networks (AKA botnets). Access to these botnets is sold online to spammers, cyber-extortionists or other ne'er do wells. When used in a DDoS attack, these compromised machines can 'flood' a network with fake packets, preventing legitimate traffic from accessing a site.

The disruption compromised Windows PCs cause to the wider internet is a recognised problem. Recently, internet firms banded to together in an industry wide push dubbed Operation Spam Zombies to wipe zombies off the net. AOL is a leading member of this initiative. It has also placed increased emphasis on consumer security in its recent software releases.

Prolexic, a 30 strong security start-up based in Miami, said its report highlighted a significant change in the way DDoS attacks are being coordinated. Instead of focusing on Layer-3 TCP attacks, hackers are increasingly trying "advanced full connection based flood" attacks. This trend allowed it to discount spoofing (forged destination) assaults before considering the origin of the attacks its customer face, according to Prolexic's Lyon. ®

Related stories

UK under cyber blitz
Corporates focus on basics for IT security defences
Online gamers targeted in Korean MSN hack attack
Hackers plot to create massive botnet
ISPs urged to throttle spam zombies

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
George Clooney, WikiLeaks' lawyer wife hand out burner phones to wedding guests
Day 4: 'News'-papers STILL rammed with Clooney nuptials
Shellshock: 'Larger scale attack' on its way, warn securo-bods
Not just web servers under threat - though TENS of THOUSANDS have been hit
Apple's new iPhone 6 vulnerable to last year's TouchID fingerprint hack
But unsophisticated thieves need not attempt this trick
PEAK IPV4? Global IPv6 traffic is growing, DDoS dying, says Akamai
First time the cache network has seen drop in use of 32-bit-wide IP addresses
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Researchers tell black hats: 'YOU'RE SOOO PREDICTABLE'
Want to register that domain? We're way ahead of you.
Stunned by Shellshock Bash bug? Patch all you can – or be punished
UK data watchdog rolls up its sleeves, polishes truncheon
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.