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Intro to Mitigating Contemporary DDOS Attacks

From Cloudflare:

As the capacity of networks like Cloudflare continue to grow, attackers move from attempting DDoS attacks at the network layer to performing DDoS attacks targeted at applications themselves.

For applications to be resilient to DDoS attacks, it is no longer enough to use a large network. A large network must be complemented with tooling that is able to filter malicious Application Layer attack traffic, even when attackers are able to make such attacks look near-legitimate.

The pace of change in how DDOS attacks are being conducted, and efforts to use best and worst security practices alike to threaten Internet-connected resources, is a serious and generally under appreciated problem.

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Why DDoS attacks matter for journalists

Two reasons that journalists should be concerned about DDoS attacks:

First, while the use of common household devices to execute the attacks against Krebs and Dyn was novel, the hackers got control of those devices using one of the oldest and easiest methods out there: bad passwords, a vulnerability most journalists share.

The second reason journalists should attend to these attacks is that strategic use of both DDoS attacks (for example, recent attacks on Newsweek and the BBC) and DNS manipulation are common tools for censorship. This is in part because they are cheap, easy (the software credited with Friday’s attack was posted openly just a few weeks ago), and highly effective in preventing some or all internet users from accessing the content they target.

We’re at the edge of a particularly bad security chasm we’re just about to fall into (if we haven’t already!). The question is whether we can actually avoid the fall or whether the best we can do right now is lessen the hurt on the way down.

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How one rent-a-botnet army of cameras, DVRs caused Internet chaos

Ars Technica:

But even in the midst of the Dyn attack, some of the Mirai-infected devices were being used to attack another target—the infrastructure of a gaming company, according to Allison Nixon, the director of security research at security company Flashpoint. That idea matches up with what others who had some insight into the attack have told Ars confidentially—that it was also pointed at Sony’s PlayStation Network, which uses Dyn as a name service provider.

For now, it’s not clear that the attacks on Dyn and the PlayStation Network were connected. And with a criminal investigation underway, a Dyn spokesperson declined to confirm or deny that Sony was also a target. “We are continuing to work closely with the law enforcement community to determine the root cause of the events that occurred during the DDoS attacks last Friday,” Adam Coughlin, Dyn’s director of corporate communications, told Ars. “Since this is an ongoing investigation, we cannot speculate on these events.”

Regardless of the reasons behind it, the attack on Dyn further demonstrates the potential disruptive power of the millions of poorly protected IoT devices. These items can be easily turned into a platform for attacking anything from individual websites to core parts of the Internet’s infrastructure. And Mirai has demonstrated that it doesn’t take “zero-day” bugs to make it happen; attackers only need poorly implemented security on devices that can’t be easily fixed.

This is definitely one of the best writeups of the DDoS attacks launched againgst Dyn last week, which led to the downtime of major Internet properties. If you want to understand some of the security-related issues associated with the Internet of Things as well as challenges of attributing attacks to different attack infrastructures and intents, this is worth your time.