Feeds

Anonymous unsheathes new, potent attack weapon

Better DDoS attacks ahead

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Members of Anonymous are developing a new attack tool as an alternative to the LOIC (Low Orbit Ion Cannon) DDoS utility.

The move follows a spate of arrests thought to be connected to use of the LOIC, which by default does nothing to hide a user's identity.

The new tool, dubbed RefRef, due to be released in September, uses a different approach to knocking out websites. LOIC floods a targeted site with TCP or UDP packets, a relatively unsophisticated yet effective approach, especially when thousands of users use the tool to join voluntary botnets.

RefRef, by contrast, is based on a more sophisticated application-level approach designed to tie up or crash the servers behind targeted websites instead of simply flooding them with junk traffic, according to a blog post on the development by an Anonymous-affiliated blog.

"Anonymous is developing a new DDoS tool," the post explains. "So far, what they have is something that is platform neutral, leveraging JavaScript and vulnerabilities within SQL to create a devastating impact on the targeted website."

RefRef, which uses a "target site's own processing power against itself" is undergoing field trials, with tests against Pastebin, the blog post by AnonOps Communications reports.

Arrests in UK, Spain and Turkey connected to LOIC-powered attacks have already prompted some core members of Anonymous to move towards using a new server and dropping LOIC in favour of other attack tools, such as Slow Loris and Keep-Dead DoS. This now seems to be purely a stop-gap measure while RefRef undergoes development.

LOIC was originally developed for network stress-testing, but later released into the public domain where, years later, it became a weapon of choice for hacktivists, most notably in the Operation Payback attacks against financial service organisations that blocked accounts controlled by Wikileaks last December following the controversial release of US diplomatic cables.

The problem with LOIC is that unless attacks are anonymised by routing them through networks, such as Tor, then users will be flinging junk packets that are stamped with their IP address at the targeted systems. These IP addresses can then be traced back to suspects by police.

Whether or not RefRef does a better job at anonymisation, by default, remains unclear but early experiments suggest that Anonymous is brewing a more potent attack tool. "Supposedly, the tool will DoS a targeted website with ease," Dancho Danchev, an independent cyber-threats analyst told El Reg. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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
Edward who? GCHQ boss dodges Snowden topic during last speech
UK spies would rather 'walk' than do 'mass surveillance'
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
China is ALREADY spying on Apple iCloud users, claims watchdog
Attack harvests users' info at iPhone 6 launch
Carders punch holes through Staples
Investigation launched into East Coast stores
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.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
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.