Feeds

'Hacktivism' threatens world of nations

DDoS gets political

Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable

Usenix Politically motivated computer attacks like the one last year that crippled network traffic in Estonia for weeks are likely to increase, and there's not much victims can do to stop them, a security researcher says.

Indeed, just last week government websites in the former Soviet republic of Georgia were ransacked by a denial-of-service attack amid growing diplomatic tensions between the country and Russia. Other victims include Radio Free Europe and dissidents in Tibet and Burma.

And an explosion of do-it-yourself tools is making it easier than ever to assure that the attacks are more and more powerful, Jose Nazario, a security analyst for Arbor Networks said at the Usenix Security Symposium in San Jose, California. That gives the politically disaffected a power they've never had before.

"It's a huge, level playing field," he said. "Who would have thought that a couple of kids could basically disrupt a nation for several weeks?"

Asymmetrical attacks - in which a relatively small number of people inflict huge damage on a much larger target - are on the rise thanks to advances made by cyber miscreants. DDoS attacks at the beginning of the decade typically topped out at around 200 Mbps. Now Nazario sees them as high as 25 Gbps. While so-called 'hacktivist' attacks on Estonia brought geopolitically motivated cyber attacks to light, they date back to at least the late 1990s during the conflict between Kosovo and Serbia, Nazario said.

While some people in the US have publicly considered launching counter-strikes using military-owned botnets, Nazario said such approaches wouldn't be effective, mainly because miscreants have so many ways of concealing where the attacks are coming from.

"Proactive solutions are generally not truly workable," he said. "It's going to be reactive and the goal is to shorten the reaction time and ... to minimize external damage." ®

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
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
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

Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
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.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
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.