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." ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
BMW's ConnectedDrive falls over, bosses blame upgrade snafu
Traffic flows up 20% as motorway middle lanes miraculously unclog
Putin: Crack Tor for me and I'll make you a MILLIONAIRE
Russian Interior Ministry offers big pile o' roubles for busting pro-privacy browser
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Manic malware Mayhem spreads through Linux, FreeBSD web servers
And how Google could cripple infection rate in a second
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Don't look, Snowden: Security biz chases Tails with zero-day flaws alert
Exodus vows not to sell secrets of whistleblower's favorite OS
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
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.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.