As companies evolve in various aspects, they obtain access to newer technologies and gadgets. Consequently, they face new kinds of threats too. If these threats are not properly countered then they face a disastrous future ahead.
This is held for DDoS attacks that are taking place today. They have evolved into various forms and each of them acts differently when activated. Moreover, the properties of the malicious traffic generated by botnets in each kind of DDoS attack present are different too.
No matter the size of the business, it will fall victim to a DDoS attack anytime soon. Reasons for these attacks range from looking for valuable information to deliberate financial damage or a routine test to check a website’s strength.
What are the most common threats present on the internet?
Within the past few years, cloud infrastructure has become quite popular. Numerous companies around the world (from small businesses and medium-sized enterprises to large companies) are now relying on cloud services for numerous purposes.
Unfortunately, cloud infrastructure (servers and services among other features) is the main target for hackers preparing and conducting these attacks. These attacks usually disrupt servers by sending a larger than a normal stream of internet traffic requests.
Resources that are not made for handling large loads of traffic simply stop working and as a consequence, all legitimate users lose access to those resources. Additionally, DDoS attacks exploit vulnerabilities at the network protocol level as well as the application level.
Cybercriminals are covertly using complete networks of infected devices as the starting point of attacks. Most of the time, owners of these devices are not aware that such devices and IP addresses are involved in such attacks. IoT devices are particularly of use to attackers for this purpose.
The number of these attacks is constantly growing but security is still at lower levels, something which experts at a DDoS Protection Service provider in North York are concerned about. According to them, approximately half the DDoS attacks are mixed,
But three main categories are standing out:
- Volumetric attacks (flooding) make a large number of requests to servers. The traffic generated is up to several terabits per second and can seriously overwhelm the whole bandwidth of the network. Soon, the system stops responding to requests.
- Protocol attacks exploit weaknesses in network protocols, like TCP, UDP, or ICMP. They overburden the network with action points.
- Application layer attacks often target web servers and applications. They often cripple them badly. What happens here is that external requests instigate a large number of internal requests, resulting in the server becoming non-accessible.
There is also a simplified classification of these attacks based on the main protocols used in online data transfer. In most instances, hackers often take advantage of weaknesses in the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and User Datagram Protocol (UDP). This kind of classification helps identify trends.
Cyber Security specialists can see which protocols get more bogus traffic and which ones don’t. This makes it possible to adjust protection plans and see which one makes it easy to work on creating new algorithms for filtering bogus traffic out.
Fragmented UDP Flood
Because of the increased efficiency of cyber protection mechanisms, some methods are of quite an interest to attackers. Among them are different kinds of flooding. One of them is Fragmented UDP Flooding with packets of maximum permissible size.
Once it is used, the channel is filled with the least number of falsified packets. These packets have nothing to do with real and legitimate data. The attached server starts to reserve resources to recover packets that do not exist, and that too from fake fragments.
At a certain point, it leads to system resources getting exhausted. Consequently, the server crashes. The problem with a Fragmented UDP Flood attack is that it is often impossible to filter out, creating a greater risk of the channel facing an overflow of fake traffic.
TCP SYN Flood
A TCP SYN Flood is a popular example from the category of Volumetric attacks. It practically exploits loopholes in the network protocol stack.
The client creates an SYN packet by requesting a new session from the server. A standard ‘three-step handshake’ (TCP) algorithm is executed, then the host starts monitoring and processing each user session until it is closed. The server which is attacked receives SYN requests which contain bluff sourced IP addresses at high speed.
Consequently, the TCP SYN Flood attack occupies all of the Transmission Control Block (TCB) table memory, which is used for storing and processing incoming packets. This in turn causes critical degradation of server performance leading to hardware failure.