Feeds

Targeted attacks replace botnet floods in telco nightmares

We the IPv6-unready

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

Targeted attacks against backend systems have replaced botnet-powered traffic floods as the main concerns for security staff at telcos and large ISPs.

Only one in five of the 132 senior telco security experts quizzed by DDoS security and network management specialists Arbor Networks reported the largest attacks they observed as lying within the one-to-four Gbps range last year, compared to 30 per cent in 2008. The most potent DDoS attacks recorded in 2009 hit 49Gbps, a relatively modest 22 per cent rise from the 40Gbps peak reached in 2008.

Although botnet-enabled DDoS attacks the top operational threats faced by the network operators surveyed by Arbor this may change in future. One in three (35 per cent) of security managers at ISPs and telcos across the world quizzed by Arbor reckoned more sophisticated service and application-layer attacks are the biggest threat they face over the coming year.

By comparison, 21 per cent thought large-scale botnet attacks would be their single biggest problem during 2010.

Service level attacks, while also driven from compromised networks of zombie PCs, are designed to exploit service weaknesses, like back-end database flaws rather than simply flooding a site with more traffic than it can handle.

Several of the senior techies quizzed by Arbor reported prolonged (multi-hour) outages of prominent internet services last year as a result of application-level attacks. Systems targeted included distributed domain name system (DNS) rigs, load balancers and SQL server back-end infrastructures.

IPv6 unready

The latest edition of Arbor's Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report reveals that networking operators are wrestling with the simultaneous roll-out of multiple new technologies.

Looming IPv4 address exhaustion is finally forcing a migration towards IPv6 while security concerns are pushing plans to roll out DNS Security Extensions (DNS SEC). Together the introduction of the technologies represents major architectural changes for the internet at a time when service providers are also facing up to a skills shortage.

As in previous years, telco techies complained of missing IPv6 security features in routers, firewalls and other critical network infrastructure building blocks. Others expressed concerns about the lack of IPv6 testing and deployment experience that may result in costly technology introduction cock-ups.

IPv6 traffic accounts for 0.03 per cent of all net traffic, a significant increase of 0.002 per cent a year earlier, but still only a tiny fraction of aggregate internet traffic, according to Arbor.

A summary covering the main themes of the Arbor's survey can be found in a blog entry here. The complete full-fat version of the report is here (pdf). ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
Goog says patch⁵⁰ your Chrome
64-bit browser loads cat vids FIFTEEN PERCENT faster!
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
NIST to sysadmins: clean up your SSH mess
Too many keys, too badly managed
Scratched PC-dispatch patch patched, hatched in batch rematch
Windows security update fixed after triggering blue screens (and screams) of death
Researchers camouflage haxxor traps with fake application traffic
Honeypots sweetened to resemble actual workloads, complete with 'secure' logins
Attack flogged through shiny-clicky social media buttons
66,000 users popped by malicious Flash fudging add-on
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
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.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.