Feeds

Targeted attacks to add to ISP woes

As if brute-force DDoS assaults weren't enough

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Hacking attacks are growing more sophisticated and more prevalent, with hard-pressed ISPs facing a wider range of threats.

The large-brute force denial of service attacks of yesteryear have been joined by service-level and application-targeted attacks, DNS poisoning and route hijacking assaults that are more difficult to deal with, according to a study by security tools vendor Arbor Networks. Assaults of this type can cause significant disruption even if their traffic volumes - less than 100mbps - remain modest.

These next-generation attacks are harder to defend against than old-fashioned flood-based attacks because it's necessary to drill down deeper into packets to detect malign traffic.

"Providers need to have deep application insight into IP services and applications – such as DNS, HTTP, VoIP, IM and P2P – in order to identify, and mitigate such attacks. To do so effectively, ISPs today must have the ability to detect and surgically remove only the attack traffic while maintaining legitimate business traffic," explained Danny McPherson, chief security officer for Arbor Networks, and author of the firm's annual study of attack trends.

The fourth edition of Arbor’s Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report, published on Tuesday, pools responses from around 70 ISPs in North America, South America, Europe and Asia, notes that brute force attacks remain a problem. Attacks of this type designed to make websites too busy to deal with legitimate users pulled in at maximum rates of up to 40Gbps over the last 12 months.

The largest sustained attacks reach 24Gbps this year compared to 17Gbps last year, an increase of two-thirds (67 per cent). A third of the ISP participants in Arbor's survey saw sustained attacks of more than one Gbps. Attack growth rates are increasing faster than the growth in the transmission capacity of networks, according to Arbor.

Botnets - networks of compromised computers - continue to be the biggest single headache for network operators. One in four network operators (26 per cent) quizzed by Arbor said that zombies were the bane of their life but DNS cache poisoning (23 per cent) and BGP route hijacking (15 per cent) were also mentioned by a significant minority as their worst security problem. Concerns about DNS cache poisoning follow the discovery of a high-profile flaw in this area by Dan Kaminsky earlier this year.

Looking ahead, the majority of respondents to the survey reckon that the long-awaited rollout of IPv6 will prove to be a security headache. Attacks on VoIP systems are also expected to prove a worry, but many operators don't yet defend against the looming threat, with a scant one in five reporting (21 per cent) reporting the installation of attack mitigation tools.

Arbor's report unsurprisingly reveals that many web-based firms are facing increasing cost and revenue pressure during a time of global economic slowdown. Many organisations have responded to these challenges by making greater use of managed security service, it notes.

The latest edition of Arbor's Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report can be found here (registration required). ®

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

More from The Register

next story
FYI: OS X Yosemite's Spotlight tells Apple EVERYTHING you're looking for
It's on by default – didn't you read the small print?
Russian hackers exploit 'Sandworm' bug 'to spy on NATO, EU PCs'
Fix imminent from Microsoft for Vista, Server 2008, other stuff
Microsoft pulls another dodgy patch
Redmond makes a hash of hashing add-on
'LulzSec leader Aush0k' found to be naughty boy not worthy of jail
15 months home detention leaves egg on feds' faces as they grab for more power
Kill off SSL 3.0 NOW: HTTPS savaged by vicious POODLE
Pull it out ASAP, it is SWISS CHEESE
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
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.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.