Feeds

Europe shrugs off largest DDoS attack yet, traffic tops 400Gbps

NTP flaw used again, effects minimal

The Essential Guide to IT Transformation

Once again hackers are targeting content-delivery firm Cloudfare, and the company says this latest attack is its biggest yet, peaking at over 400Gbps of traffic.

"Very big NTP reflection attack hitting us right now. Appears to be bigger than the #Spamhaus attack from last year. Mitigating," tweeted Cloudflare's CEO Matthew Price. "Someone's got a big, new cannon. Start of ugly things to come."

The attack used a well-known flaw in the Network Time Protocol (NTP) that's used to set the clocks of servers connecting online. The User Datagram Protocol (UDP)-based protocol can be subverted using a synchronization request so that a target system spews out a large volume of data that can be used in a DDoS attack.

The problems with NTP are well-recognized, and in January US-CERT issued a bulletin about the issue, which was backed up by security researchers who warned that the technique was becoming particularly popular. In December an NTP attack was carried out against online gaming servers, and security firm Symantec said it has seen a big spike in similar traffic.

As it turns out, the effects on servers was minimal. While the last attack against Cloudflare and antispammers at Spamhaus in March caused brief, but significant, slowdowns in many servers, this latest attack appears to have been largely shrugged off.

"It's the nature of many denial-of-service attacks that they are fairly transient, really," Nathaniel Couper-Noles, principal consultant at security firm Neohapsis, told The Register. "Once you stop sending the attacks, the lines clear and the network goes back to normal. In certain DDoS attacks there is a load factor, so if you don't have adequate cooling, driving up the load factor to 100 per cent – in some really rare cases – a piece of equipment can malfunction."

For IT managers, the best step to make sure servers aren't used in this way is to watch network traffic closely, he said, and harden up their systems – either using Windows registry or Cisco's IOS interface – and to filter outbound NTP as a good-neighbor policy. ®

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
Four fake Google haxbots hit YOUR WEBSITE every day
Goog the perfect ruse to slip into SEO orfice
prev story

Whitepapers

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.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.