Feeds

Targeted attacks replace botnet floods in telco nightmares

We the IPv6-unready

SANS - Survey on application security programs

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). ®

Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction

More from The Register

next story
Parent gabfest Mumsnet hit by SSL bug: My heart bleeds, grins hacker
Natter-board tells middle-class Britain to purée its passwords
Obama allows NSA to exploit 0-days: report
If the spooks say they need it, they get it
Web data BLEEDOUT: Users to feel the pain as Heartbleed bug revealed
Vendors and ISPs have work to do updating firmware - if it's possible to fix this
Samsung Galaxy S5 fingerprint scanner hacked in just 4 DAYS
Sammy's newbie cooked slower than iPhone, also costs more to build
Mounties always get their man: Heartbleed 'hacker', 19, CUFFED
Canadian teen accused of raiding tax computers using OpenSSL bug
Snowden-inspired crypto-email service Lavaboom launches
German service pays tribute to Lavabit
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
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a defence for mobile apps
In this whitepaper learn the various considerations for defending mobile applications; from the mobile application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies needed to properly assess mobile applications risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
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.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.