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The Internet Botnet Security Technology

Has Progress Been Made In Fighting DDoS Attacks? 206

Posted by samzenpus
from the protect-ya-neck dept.
alphadogg writes "As the distributed denial-of-service attacks spawned by this week's WikiLeaks events continue, network operators are discussing what progress, if any, has been made over the past decade to detect and thwart DoS attacks. Participants in the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) e-mail reflector are debating whether any headway has been made heading off DDoS attacks in 10 years. The discussion is occurring while WikiLeaks deals with DDoS attacks after leaking sensitive government information, and sympathizers launch attacks against MasterCard, Visa, PayPal and other significant e-commerce sites."
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Has Progress Been Made In Fighting DDoS Attacks?

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  • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @08:31PM (#34531176)
    How a large chain of treaties, relationships and friends slowly spiraled downwards through a set of "Hey, you said you would help if..." into basically a war of people who weren't even remotely connected to the original event (assassination of a prince from memory) and general chaos for quite a while.

    Amazon, Paypal, Visa certainly weren't connected to WL in any way prior to this, but have shown relationships and friends, and of course this means that friends to WL have now escalated the parties. I do wonder where it will all end.
    • by Hortensia Patel (101296) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @08:42PM (#34531200)

      assassination of a prince from memory

      An Archduke, if you want to be picky. But nice analogy nonetheless. Like WW1, I think this is a fight that's been waiting to happen for a while now. Like WW1, the specifics of the flashpoint incident are largely irrelevant.

      Unlike WW1, the two sides seem far from evenly matched this time. My gut says the pro-WikiLeaks side will get tired and give up; there's nobody paying them to keep going, and that matters in the long haul. I'd love to be proved wrong, though.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by poetmatt (793785)

        uh, there is no such thing as the victims being outmatched on this.

        this is roughly back to basics all over again - the people who are DDOS'ing don't need a central command location - that is easily mirrored anywhere in the world.

        the people who are defending however, do need a centralized location.

        meanwhile, calling this war, is just a blatant lack of understanding - this is more of a political statement than an act of a aggression - it is not harmless, but that is not the focus here.

        If this were a war, it w

        • by jhoegl (638955) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:34PM (#34531398)
          Escalation is only a matter of time.
          If these groups do continue to attack, then they will escalate because DDoS wont work.
          The war on freedom on the internet has been escalating for some time now. I believe the recent events such as the DNS hijacking of torrent sites, the restrictions on Netflix network by Comcast, and DDoS attacks on wikileaks are possibly the tipping point. Its not that they all werent expected, but it is a lot to deal with within a few weeks. The internet we had is slipping away thanks to corporate greed and no one listening to the issues people have been talking about for years.
          I say fight on, for it is important.
          • by jc42 (318812) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @10:42PM (#34531650) Homepage Journal

            Perhaps we should be pointing out that the problem here is the DDoSers, not their victims. And, more generally, the problem is that we are developing organizations that see it to their advantage to interfere with Internet traffic. Some of the organizations are political in nature, as with the wikileaks/amazon/etc snafu. Some are economic, as with the "traffic shaping" done by the Internet's supporting corporations for their own monetary gain and to damage competitors. Some are religious, as in the filtering done to block heretical and other indecent material by national chokepoint-type gateways.

            All of these are the same threat to the rest of us: They are trying to limit our access to information that they don't want us to see. The best approach is to take an "agnostic" approach to their motives, ignore whether they're political or economic or religious, and just emphasize that we don't want them benefitting by controlling and limiting our access to information.

            That Knowledge is Power is an old observation. These people all want power over us by limiting our access to information. Many of them have had such power in the past, and are now upset that their power is decreased by this newfangled "Internet" thing. This is, of course, part of why we built the Internet. The important thing is to prevent this control of information from being reestablished by anyone. We don't care how noble their motives are; we just want to make sure that they can't control what we are allowed to learn.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by MobyDisk (75490)

            This came-up in the other Slashdot discussions and I am compelled to post it here too since this misinformation seems to have stuck. Comcast did not put any restrictions on Netflix. Comcast and Level 3 communications (who happens to host Netflix) had a peering agreement, which Level 3 violated. It has nothing to do with freedom, or network neutrality, or Netflix. [redstate.com]

        • by rtb61 (674572)

          No central command is required, all that needs to happen, is the type of hardware that can directly connect to the internet needs to be defined. So instead of a modem, a firewall router that can detect DDosing and block it whether incoming or more importantly outgoing. So if a bot attempts to join a DDos attack it is blocked at it's connection. Also it will do a lot more to protect all poorly configured and administered computers out there on the internet. A global treaty, as distributed protection always

          • by icebike (68054)

            Exactly.

            I posted something similar above [slashdot.org].

            The process of detecting what might be a DDOS would trigger an arms race. I therefore suggested that any sustained non productive traffic to a site that ADVERTISES that it is under sever load (attack) would be filtered as close to the keyboard as possible.

            Doesn't have to be on the customer's premises, but certainly at the ISP.

            Any sustained repetitive traffic to addresses on the advertised list get a second look, or a throttling or something.

            If done at EACH level (IS

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by matthiasvegh (1800634)
              This however, is against all network neutrality stands for. Don't. Touch. My. Traffic.
              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                Deliberately harming the network is far from neutral, and arguing it should be allowed in the name of freedom isn't going to win you any adherents over the mental age of 14.

              • by icebike (68054)

                I'm not sure any rational adherent of network neutrality espouses the freedom to use the net as a weapon of attack.

                You've already violated your terms of service once you launch such an attack. So you've already agreed that such actions on your part are sufficient to kill off your traffic.

                If you happen to be a clueless pwned windows user, only the backdoor running on your box would have its traffic blocked, an even then, only when it was participating in a DDOS against a site that advertised that it was und

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      The main reason that WWI started though was because the doctrine of mobilization still existed.

      • by Fluffeh (1273756) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @08:53PM (#34531240)

        The main reason that WWI started though was because the doctrine of mobilization still existed.

        Yes, a spark set of a large chain of events. Sort of like a company refusing to deal with a website due to pressure and is now under a continued DDoS? Say what you like, WL has caused pretty much everyone to take a side in this ongoing and developing scenario. If that isn't the first steps to mobilization in a digital world I don't know what is.

      • The main reason that WWI started though was because the doctrine of mobilization still existed.

        The TOS for my celluar service is not a good sign.

    • by dsanfte (443781)

      Each side figured if they could amass a significant enough alliance, the other side would capitulate, making any battle short and largely symbolic. It was a whole lot of blustering and brinksmanship, but reputation meant so much that by the time things came to a head, they had to fight, nobody could stand to lose face. Thirteen million dead because nobody would call uncle.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:35PM (#34531408)

      I worry that WL is the "cyber 9/11" that people in the IT industry have been dreading since the 1990s.

      Here in the US, we have Congresspeople who have been obviously Internet hostile. One of which was one of the reasons Zimmerman made PGP because strong cryptography came perilously close to being made illegal in the early 1990s. And the people still keep trying -- the mid 1990s brought with it the CDA where cursing on the Internet could mean a prison sentence (which took a fight to the Supreme Court to get that overthrown.) Of course, every few years, we have a bill like the INDUCE act, COICA, and many other Internet-hostile acts. Looming over our heads is ACTA which is still in the "make as extreme as possible, then 'compromise'" stage.

      The people wanting these laws (likely the same people who want a DRM chip in every single computing peripheral and computer) would score a coup like no other should Congress check their heads in at the door and blindly rubber stamp "anti-cyber-terrorism" laws (like they did with the USAPATRIOT act.) Their long term goal is more revenue streams, and DRM and locked-down operating systems help that greatly.

      The result of the lawmaking: iPad-like lockdown on the desktop, NAC on upstream routers that would detect jailbroken hardware and permanently ban machines by IMEI or other identifying ID (think XBL bans for modchipped firmware), all browsing and usage history transmitted to LEOs and ad agencies in real time (with no way of saying "no" to it), forcing people to have a "license" to browse the Internet (and the onus on victims of ID theft to prove otherwise so their access can be regained), and a return to the days where there were no open source alternatives -- either pay someone for a tool (such as a compiler), or do without. To enforce this, machines would have an active DRM chip with its own IP stack and method of automatically downloading new definitions/patches, then randomly freezing and scanning the memory space looking for suspected items. Machines would also have an antivirus utility that would run in protected space to look for signatures of music or video files, then phone home about it, leading to the user either permanently losing net access, or actually getting raided and the equipment seized via civil means (similar to how cars are seized due to drug charges.)

      Ironically, Joe Sixpack wouldn't care, until he has to pay money per play of his favorite Ke$ha song.

      Yes, this sounds like a dystopian fantasy, but the technology is there (CISCO's NAC, active DRM chips [1], XBL bans, Internet IDs in Korea and China, just a few companies providing Internet service, large wholesale moves of the population from "open" devices like Netbooks to closed/locked down platforms [2] like the iPad, a wholesale move by Microsoft and Apple to application stores on the desktop.) If given enough impetus, one can see companies connecting the dots and going a good way in locking down the Internet. Of course, it wouldn't be 100%, but it can be effective. Especially if people's software investments are tied down to a user account (Steam, Apple Store, Google's App Store), and they could easily lose access to all their purchased software in an instant should piracy be suspected. This could be compared to Valve's Anti-Cheat where access can be taken away to all multiplayer games in an instant with no recourse [3], except with all other software that one purchases, perhaps even the license for the OS itself.

      Of course, the world != the US. It would obviously cause an exodus of talent from the US to elsewhere (such as during the 1990s where all the cryptographic R&D moved from the US to Russia and Israel during the times when exporting a DES routine had the same criminal penalty as selling a nuke.)

      I don't want to sound like a doomsayer, but there are a lot of well-heeled people and organizations who would love to see the Internet return to being a Compuserve with complete control of who accesses what, how many fees can be attached, dissidents bei

    • by jc42 (318812) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @10:23PM (#34531586) Homepage Journal

      Amazon, Paypal, Visa certainly weren't connected to WL in any way prior to this, but have shown relationships and friends, and of course this means that friends to WL have now escalated the parties.

      Hmm ... It sounds like you're saying that wikileaks was the source of the DDoSs at Amazon, Paypal and Visa. Do we have any evidence for this? The reporting I've seen imply that it was "supporters of wikileaks", not WL themselves. From what little I know of their record, I'd think this wouldn't be their preferred tactic, since it would sorta amount to "shooting yourself in the foot", as the old metaphor goes.

      (But I can imagine Julian & Co. quietly cheering the DDoSers on in private, as did a lot of us. ;-)

      • by Fluffeh (1273756)

        Hmm ... It sounds like you're saying that wikileaks was the source of the DDoSs at Amazon, Paypal and Visa.

        Source? Not at all. Cause? Yup.

        To use another analogy. A small kid at a school is getting picked on by a bunch of other kids. His friends step in and try to set things right. Is it the small kid's fault that his friends got into an altercation? No. Is he the cause of it? Yes. Indirectly, he is the cause of the other kids jumping in to save his bacon.

        I totally agree with you that WL would be utterly stupid if they a) did anything like this or b) officially supported it - but I also agree with you that

    • by Motard (1553251)

      From Band of Brothers....

      While walking through the woods in Part 9, "Why We Fight" before stumbling upon the Landsberg Concentration Camp.

      Frank Perconte: Hey Luz, this forest kinda reminds me of Bastogne.

      George Luz: It does huh? Well, except for the fact that there's no snow, we got warm food in out bellies, and trees aren't exploding all around us,... but yeah Frank, it looks a little like Bastogne. -- Smack him for me Bull.

      "Bull" Randleman, walking behind, then proceeds to slap Perconte on the back of his

    • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @11:49PM (#34531878)

      I do wonder where it will all end.

      That one is fairly easy, actually.

      First, a significant number of those who have been involved in the recent DDoS mess will be hunted down and thrown to the wolves as examples. It won't be the guys who set it up, who are hiding behind their anonymising proxies and not actually taking part in the DDoS attacks personally. A lot of young troublemakers/curious geeks* will suffer for playing along.

      (* Delete as applicable)

      Over the coming months and years, increasingly draconian lock-down of the Internet will follow. Wikileaks have helpfully provided the politically credible stick that major governments such as the US have been dying for to impose this on an international scale, and the end result of Wikileaks and its "supporters" acting like children will be the world's major governments treating us all like children and thus making things worse for everyone. It will be like all the security theatre (with the occasional genuine measure going by almost unnoticed) imposed after events like 9/11, because you can do anything as long as you're "fighting terrorism" now.

      One consolation we have is that most of the government measures will in practice probably be miscalculated and ineffective because they will be politically driven rather than planned and implemented by people with actual clue about computer security, which means they will hit stumbling blocks when serious money and/or international concessions are required to implement them. However, those who just want to continue using the Internet freely and responsibly will probably still have to live under the perpetual threat of coming up as a false positive on the wrong government agency's or ISP's automated system and being messed around as a result, even though they have done nothing wrong according to the new laws. Naturally, the most likely candidates for such treatment will be those in minorities, such as people who don't just run $DOMINANT_PLATFORM on the $FORTUNE_500_VENDOR hardware they bought from $MAJOR_NATIONAL_STORE_CHAIN.

      Finally, the one thing that will almost certainly be seriously compromised is on-line anonymity. This will no doubt still be achievable but probably only with a much more serious level of skill and understanding than most script kiddies ever have. Whether this is a good thing or not is open to debate: about the only worthwhile information we have learned from the Wikileaks fiasco is that the actions of both sides stink to a significant extent but neither side is really as bad as the other makes out. Most people going about their daily lives seem to be getting bored of the whole affair already. The media here in the UK certainly are.

      • Now that we see it a parsec away, can we stop it? I was too naive the first time around to see round 1 coming.

        Unlike prior "scare excuses" this one doesn't have an end point. Notice this one is not "terrorists", but "treason" - a new verse in their song. Don't forget Copyright in the VP role for excuses to lock down the net. And yes, we have nice tasty locked down i-devices all ready in the wings.

        Thought Experiment:
        (Insert Applicable year) Can they ban Windows below Version 8 "as too dangerous in a post-Wik

        • Now that we see it a parsec away, can we stop it?

          The trouble is, I want the authorities to take action as a result of this. The way that governments and financial services have been mocked by a relatively small number of people over the past few days is absurd, and it's long past time we had more secure and verifiable communications over the Internet in general. I just want the authorities to take the right actions.

          That is going to require expert guidance, because few people with the power to influence serious changes in this area have the necessary knowl

          • by Nursie (632944) on Monday December 13, 2010 @07:15AM (#34532956)

            The proper action to stop future leaks is three-fold.

            1. Stop classifying anything and everything. Classified documents should be classified for a damn good reason.

            2. Stop behaving like arseholes and then expecting secrecy to protect you. There should be no reason for politicians to be embarrassed because they shouldn't be pulling this shit in the first place.

            3. Yes, improve security. But not without the other twqo steps, because then we'll just get better protection for corrupt ass-hattery.

  • by Vekseid (1528215) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @08:40PM (#34531196) Homepage

    The people attacking Wikileaks did. Wikileaks' troubles would be nigh irrelevant without the omnipresent glaring vulnerability that is DNS. The mirrors would all be signed wikileaks.org and the client would choose the closest available. Or something to that effect.

    Some of the reported DDOS vulnerabilities were dead even before they were released to the public. Sockstress? Meet connlimit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 12, 2010 @08:41PM (#34531198)

    "sympathizers", when has this word ever been used in a good way
    Nazi sympathizers
    Russian sympathizers
    Terrorist sympathizers

    It's a term used to describe supporters of those who you think of as bad.
    A neutral term would to be used is simply "supporters".

  • I'd say there has been some progress. Although they may have taken down sites like Mastercard, which doesn't normally deal in high volumes of traffic, they apparently had no effect on Amazon that I could see. I tried it throughout the day that Anonymous stated they would target Amazon, with nary a pause or hiccup.

    • by Firewing1 (1072250) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @08:52PM (#34531230) Homepage
      According to the Anonymous press release [dump.no] two days ago, they never launched an attack against Amazon:

      After this piece of news circulated, parts of Anonymous on Twitter asked for Amazon.com to betargetted. The attack never occured.

      After the attack was so advertised in the media, we felt that it would affect people such as consumers in a negative way and make them feel threatened by Anonymous. Simply put, attacking a major online retailer when people are buying presents for their loved ones, would be in bad taste.

      • by Fex303 (557896)

        According to the Anonymous.... [snip]

        Simply put, attacking a major online retailer when people are buying presents for their loved ones, would be in bad taste.

        Right, because Anonymous and /b/ in general are such guardians of good taste.

        • Right, because Anonymous and /b/ in general are such guardians of good taste.

          The wording is easy to misunderstand. The statement is meant to indicate that interfering with people buying Xmas presents for their kids would be seen to be in bad taste and thus counter-productive to their goal. Screwing with the backend payment systems makes customers pissed off at mc/visa/e-stores but directly blocking the e-stores makes people pissed off the DDOSers.

        • by bsDaemon (87307) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @10:16PM (#34531556)

          "simply put, attacking a major online retailer when our parents are buying our christmas presents might affect us" -- what they really meant.

      • by Duradin (1261418)

        Of course they never launched that attack. They never tried and spectacularly (in its lack of effect) failed. To say that they tried would be admitting they were as effective as a gnat is against a freight train.

    • by Haedrian (1676506)
      That's because Amazon is designed to withstand such heavy use. If I decide to DDOS some server which usually gets 10-15 visitors a week, I probably won't need more than a single client.

      Amazon (which apparently does hosting too) - is designed to take thousands upon thousands of concurrent connections at the same time.

      Its not about progess - its like discovering that your i5 CPU can handle more spyware running at the same time than your Pentium MMX - its still the same method.
  • If I were to arrange a thousand people to turn up at the corporate headquarters of Visa, and then simply sit down on the ground outside the main doors, would it be a crime?

    So, how can it be a crime if I achieve the same thing in cyberspace?
    • by Raptoer (984438) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @08:54PM (#34531244)

      If you do so in an attempt to harm or otherwise deny access, then yes, it would be. It's more akin to getting a thousand people to sit outside their building and forcefully block anyone who tries to come in.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:05PM (#34531316)

        No it's not.

        It's like a crowd gathered in front of a service window all trying to get an order - only most of them asking for things they don't offer there. Now you as a legitimate customer need to get through that crowd to get to the window and make your order.

        • Much better analogy than the others.

        • by gsslay (807818)

          No it's not.

          It's like a crowd gathering in front of a service window all trying to get an order - only most of them purposely asking for things they don't offer there, but repeatedly rejoining the queue with the same request.

          If the company can tell who are the genuine customers, they can inform the rest that they are not welcome and invite them to leave. After which point they are trespassing.

          Which is why DDoS is illegal.

      • by rawler (1005089)

        And that is a crime? I've been under the impression that that level of civil disobedience is more or less constitutionally protected in most democratic regimes?

        That is, police can drive you away, but unless you use violence or threats, you cannot really be prosecuted?

        Remember, the DDos-sources aren't really doing anything to the other visitors of the site or to the site itself. They are merely coordinatedly using the public services offered by the site, to the point of resource-exhaustion on the site. It's

    • The same was as the physical act will be made into a crime... Some officer of the law will ask you to move and when you don't then you are arrested for failure to comply with an officer of the law, which is barely a step away from resisting arrest when you protest that this is a ligitimate protest...
    • Depends on the country, but yes indeed probably would be a crime to get 1000 people together and have them block access to the Visa headquarters. Protest is not the same as physically obstructing access.

    • If I were to arrange a thousand people to turn up at the corporate headquarters of Visa, and then simply sit down on the ground outside the main doors, would it be a crime?

      So, how can it be a crime if I achieve the same thing in cyberspace?

      If you prevent people from entering/exiting the building, or do that on private property without permission, yes. There isn't so much as a sidewalk to stand on in the Internet as far as public space goes, so good luck with your analogy.

    • by Lord Kano (13027)

      If I were to arrange a thousand people to turn up at the corporate headquarters of Visa, and then simply sit down on the ground outside the main doors, would it be a crime?

      So, how can it be a crime if I achieve the same thing in cyberspace?

      It would be a crime if you did that at an abortion clinic. 10 years in Federal prison and $100K+ in fines.

      LK

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      If they are blocking commerce, they can be removed. Criminal trespass arrests usually empty the streets out of people doing a sit-in, and gives an added bonus of felony-hard charges should they even come near the place again (even if they protest on the sidewalk and not on the property.)

      When push comes to shove, most places go into "arrest them now, they can sue later on in the courts and lose later" mode. Every four years, you will see this exact phenomenon in action during the DNC and RNC meetings durin

  • No.

    There you go.
  • by Palmsie (1550787) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @08:54PM (#34531242)
    A number of sources have begun describing DDOS attacks not as cyber-attacks but rather as digital sit-ins that are completely legal. A DDOS (Note the Distributed) is basically a ton of people visiting the site at once so that others can't. In essence, the unknowing visitor to mastercard.com is also contributing to the DDOS by merely visiting the already flooded site (albiet in a small way) just as an unknowing visitor to a bank is contributing to a sit-in by disrupting the flow of work. Their mere presence is making the work more difficult. However, there is nothing illegal about one person visiting a bank and standing there, just like there isn't anything illegal with a number of people going to a bank... at the same time. Ultimately, the question isn't "has progess been made" to stop DDOS attacks, but SHOULD there be progress to stop them? Sounds like an easy question to answer but in the case of freedom of expression, it makes the waters a bit more muddied.
    • by Haedrian (1676506)
      To continue with your analogy - I'm pretty sure its illegal to have thousands of customers in front of the bank clerks insisting that its their turn, and not allowing real customers to access the clerks - while the bank needs to thwart their efforts by hiring more clerks and paying extra funds for nothing.

      Of course its a crime - you're removing people's access to a resource someone else is paying for.
      • by jc42 (318812)

        I'm pretty sure its illegal to have thousands of customers in front of the bank clerks insisting that its their turn, ...

        Actually, this sort of thing has happened repeatedly throughout the history of banks. It's called a "run on the banks", and typically happens as part of some economic disaster that makes people fear loss of their savings. To my knowledge, nobody has ever been arrested and charged with attempting to withdraw their funds from a bank. (Though if it has happened, it might be interesting to read about.)

        Typically, banks and governments react to this by first trying to calm the population and convince people th

    • by Anonymous Coward

      However, there is nothing illegal about one person visiting a bank and standing there, just like there isn't anything illegal with a number of people going to a bank... at the same time.

      Actually, that is called trespassing and is very illegal, especially if you do not leave when they ask you to. While it is true that businesses are open to the public, that is not blanket permission. They are giving an invitation of, "come on in if you want to do business." If you don't want to do business, then you have no right to be there. Likewise, if you are accessing someone's network not involved in business with them, then you have no permission to be there and are violating the law.

    • by Duradin (1261418) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:40PM (#34531438)

      With a sit in, the protestor faces the (immediate) risk of arrest. With a sit in once they are asked to leave and they refuse it becomes trespass and the cops can be called in to clear them out. Not so with a DDoS.

      Equating DDoS with sit-ins is a disservice to the sit-in as a valid form of protest.

    • A number of sources

      Are these neutral, independent, reputable sources? Or are they sources that have taken sides in favor of Wikileaks and the DDoSers and are trying to justify the act of perpetrating a DDoS attack?

      Note that Julian Assange has already indicated that neither Wikileaks nor he approve of the DDoS attacks, first and foremost because they are a muzzle to free speech.

      • by Duradin (1261418)

        I thought Wikileaks doesn't approve or disapprove of the attacks, a tacit condoning of the attacks by not condemning them.

        • a tacit condoning of the attacks by not condemning them

          Reads a lot like

          by not supporting this bill, you are siding with the terrorist

          • by Duradin (1261418)

            Has Wikileaks told Anonymous to stop? Especially when it'd be in their "good guy" interests to do so?

    • by jeff4747 (256583)

      A number of sources have begun describing DDOS attacks not as cyber-attacks but rather as digital sit-ins that are completely legal.

      Sit-ins aren't legal.

      A sit-in is a minimum of trespassing, with a few other charges depending on what you do and where you do it.

    • by Nemyst (1383049)
      I might be inclined to concede this for DDOS where 1 visitor = 1 person. Unfortunately, you simply can't ignore that a great proportion of the traffic in a DDOS comes from botnets, which are and should always be illegal. The dangers of a single person with control of a large botnet can be incredible for small sites - I've personally seen entire communities crumble because one single idiot was angered at the others and decided to take revenge.

      I'm sorry, but I can't equate DDOS with a sit-in. We need to mak
  • If you are curious about the slightly deeper and murkier details, this [ktn.epfl.ch] will tell you why handling DDoS attacks is still difficult.
  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:15PM (#34531346) Homepage Journal
    The article talks a lot about botnets, but how many botnets are actually involved in the wikileaks attacks? I haven't read about any and my bet is that there probably aren't a lot. Why? Simple, the purpose of most botnets has turned from fun into profit. 10 years ago most of the botnets were designed just to screw with people, delete files, open ports, ddos ebay etc. However over the past 10 years a lot of the creators of botnets have found that they can use the botnets to generate lots of cash by moving spam, selling information etc. I doubt that very many of them would want to risk subjecting their botnets to discovery and removal by getting involved in in such a high profile attack.
    • However over the past 10 years a lot of the creators of botnets have found that they can use the botnets to generate lots of cash by moving spam, selling information etc.

      No, they've found that they can rent out their botnets to people who generate lots of cash by moving spam, selling information, etc. If you've got the cash and are willing to spend it you can rent a botnet for your political DDOS.

  • by girlintraining (1395911) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:22PM (#34531366)

    You all may recall that the internet was designed as a peer to peer network. It was assumed that every node would have equal access to a decentralized network with many interconnects and pathways between each. The rise of DDoS attacks and other vulnerabilities is a direct result of the internet being used for other than it was designed: Businesses have forced a "one to many" relationship, a client-server architecture, and uneven upstream/downstream ratios. The centralization here is the weakness, not the internet.

    The internet wasn't designed to support the business and organizational models that now dominate it. The solution to the DDoS problem is to decentralize, and restore a peer-based communication model -- that is how it was designed to be used. Of course, we could sit here and debate how to "save" the internet from "hackers" who are using the strengths of the network to great effect to attack those who built their solutions without much mind to the foundation.

  • by sunderland56 (621843) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:26PM (#34531380)
    How do you differentiate a DDoS attack from the usual slashdotting of a web site?
    • by Rinnon (1474161) on Sunday December 12, 2010 @09:44PM (#34531456)

      How do you differentiate a DDoS attack from the usual slashdotting of a web site?

      One is intentionally malicious with the intent to bring down the site. The other is usually the Botnet on Autopilot.

    • How do you differentiate a DDoS attack from the usual slashdotting of a web site?

      DDoS attackers don't do normal http queries. They make an initial connection to the server and leave it dangling to later time out. The server supports a finite number of external connections and can be easily kept out of action.

      • by Nursie (632944)

        Not necessarily true.

        Attacks like Slow Loris rely on opening lots of connections and keeping them open, intermittently sending a byte or two of an http request to keep the server interested. You don't even need to be distributed to do that, one client can take down a server that's vulnerable to slow loris.

        But that's not what's going on here. DDoS can be (and is in this case I think) lots and lots and lots of normal traffic from many different sources, flooding the pipes, overloading the server etc etc.

      • This might have been true in 1997 but it's certainly not anymore.

        The most effective DDoS attacks are layer 7 attacks.
        It is pretty easy to deal with layer 4 attacks, trivially so to deal with layer 3 attacks.

        For DDoS attacks the harder to differentiate between an attacker and legitimate user the harder it is to protect against.

  • by Nethead (1563)

    And the NANOG list has been reading more and more like slashdot and less like an operators list for the last few months. Nice to see it come full circle with this article.

  • Yes, "headway has been made heading off DDoS attacks".
    ISPs & Hosting providers can now charge you large sums of money to ensure your pipes are big enough to handle a DDoS, thereby "heading off DDoS attacks" before they even begin.

    No, this doesn't really protect you from a large scale botnet executing a reflective DDoS attack; The amount of protection is in proportion to the amount you spend on your pipes. Some providers offer automatic up-scaling via server virtualization, but this just means you get t

    • In most cases I've found distributed DOS shields can't really scale over 10gbit/s, and even then they have to be manually started after noticing the attack vs. "heading off the attacks before they begin".
  • by thej1nx (763573) on Monday December 13, 2010 @12:06AM (#34531940)
    Pretty easy. Make it standard for all OSs to default to updating/patching *without* prompting the user. I believe Chrome etc. do this already? A DDOS usually requires a botnet with lots of infected drones. And those in turn, usually require vulnerable un-patched systems. If someone actually wants the system to prompt them for applying updates, they can configure it so, instead of that being the out of box behavior.

    Microsoft alone is responsible for majority of these. The old excuse of *this is because windows is most popular OS" is pure hogwash. When dozens of unix variants can update system components without requiring a reboot, it simply implies a horrible design on part of Microsoft. And the reboots and the required prompting for updates are what is responsible for at least half of the infected systems on internet. If the user needs to control the updates, it should be configurable, not the default. The reaction of your mom and pop, after seeing the usual "updates are ready" pop-up, is to simply ignore it.

    Perhaps all that is needed is for someone to do an analysis of the compositions of Botnet systems and simply launch a class action suit against Microsoft. If they want to charge the public hundreds of dollars for a product that has a fixed cost and requires near-zero cost to replicate, they better be ready to provide a hell of a better product.

    • by swilver (617741)

      Automatic updates can break things.

      Why would I want automatic updates?

      1) So it can unexpectedly change look, remove "unpopular" features or add new "features"?
      2) So it can suddenly start behaving differently, start crashing or not work at all anymore?
      3) So it can start spying on me, or otherwise add features that were not in the initial version I installed?

      No, thank you. I prefer to run the software *I* installed -- I already deal with enough stupid problems, and I donot want to deal with new ones when I a

    • by syousef (465911) on Monday December 13, 2010 @04:14AM (#34532522) Journal

      Pretty easy. Make it standard for all OSs to default to updating/patching *without* prompting the user.

      No thanks. I've seen too many "fixes" break much more than they fixed. I'm setting up a laptop at the moment and had to downgrade my version of Zonealarm because it broke my remote desktop, and downgrade my version of virtualbox because it broke network file sharing. Too many companies think they know better than the user then fail to do basic testing. Until quality control comes up out of the gutter, if you take away my ability to decide what is and isn't installed, I no longer have a use for your product. That's true of everything from the web browser to the OS to games to office suites. EVERYTHING.

    • Uh, several of these ddos attacks (at least in the Netherlands, where the police and government sites were being ddos'ed by teenagers) were made using LOIC, a piece of software that people install *voluntarily* to aid this kind of attacks. I'm not sure you can call these machines "infected", since the software has to be installed manually, and doesn't spread on its own like most botnet-malware. While i do not approve of that kind of software, i would not want an OS that cleans my system of software that i i
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 13, 2010 @07:15AM (#34532952)

      Needing a reboot after a software install/update? ... I used to think the MS strategy was lousy - and I have a MainFrame and Unix background.... BUT, I have since found a rather valid reason for doing a system reboot after software update ... to verify that the system will boot, while the details of the update are fresh in your mind.
      There is a real nasty shock available to *nix administrators who have done all sorts of minor updates over a period stretching back hundreds of days without a reboot.. next time you do a reboot, and the system does not restart things nicely ... which update (or updates) is the problem ??? Do you have a log of every change since the last reboot, and the time/skill needed to sort out the mess you now have?
      It turns out that the while the MS forced reboot is often inconvenient and intrusive, it does at least verify (normally) that you have a valid system after applying the most recent set of changes. .....

  • then you can fight it. not otherwise, since otherwise the attacker can always find more bots or willing supporters.

    or do a distributed GIVING of service, then when one node gets slashed it doesn't matter as much. that's though what clouds supposed to be, in theory(in practice it's just shared hosting so not..)

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