Feeds

AOL rebuts zombie network slur

Mr Clean

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

SANS - Survey on application security programs

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

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Putin tells Snowden: Russia conducts no US-style mass surveillance
Gov't is too broke for that, Russian prez says
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
Call of Duty 'fragged using OpenSSL's Heartbleed exploit'
So it begins ... or maybe not, says one analyst
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.