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The Internet

DoS Attacks Persisting, On The Rise 287

thelizman writes "One of the most basic "hacks" (to use the media's bastardization of the term) is a Denial of Service attack. While not getting you any access to data on a machine, DoS attacks effectively shut down machines by making them inaccessable to others. CNN is carrying and IDG.net story about how DoS attacks are still one of the leading threats on the Internet, and are actually on the rise as the sophistication of the attacks increases." We get them constantly- some intentional, some not. It's really a pain.
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DoS Attacks Persisting, On The Rise

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  • DOS is dead (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @06:10PM (#3312592)
    Everyone at my company has upgraded to Windows 3.1. I don't know why Slashdot is still talking about DOS
    • Re:DOS is dead (Score:2, Interesting)

      by NanoGator ( 522640 )
      "Everyone at my company has upgraded to Windows 3.1. I don't know why Slashdot is still talking about DOS"

      Though I would agree that DOS is probably inhibiting people from getting data off certain sites off the net, they're talking about DoS.

      Here's a question, though: Let's say a company does something that the Slashdot community doesn't like. A link is posted to that site so that people could visit it. Slashdot has enough visitors that most sites come down pretty quickly with that much traffic. Could a company make a case that Slashdot is a DoS attack?

      I'm not asking on a moral ground, but could a Lawyer actually get that to court?

      To be clear I'm not asking:

      - Would they win
      - Could they in the ideal world
      - Would it be ethical/moral to
      - Are they right in doing so

      I'm asking if they could present a case and get it to court. Thoughts?
      • Re:DOS is dead (Score:3, Insightful)

        by issachar ( 170323 )
        I'm not asking on a moral ground, but could a Lawyer actually get that to court?

        probably not if the judge has any sense at all.

        There's a fundamental difference between a DoS or DDoS attack and the so-called /. effect. In the first two cases, the attacks generally come from remote controlled machines or zombie machines and is instigated by a very few number of people, or even just one person. In the case of the /. effect, each and every viewing of the webpage is deliberately instigated by a separate human being.

        While most analogies of /. suck, I'll add one more: It's somewhat akin to the difference between a half dozen people chaining themselves to the entrance of a Starbucks and stopping people from entering as a means of protesting globalization and a couple hundred people all trying to get in at once because a radio DJ points out that they're selling double-shot mochas for a penny each.

        • Re:DOS is dead (Score:4, Insightful)

          by NanoGator ( 522640 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @06:25PM (#3312723) Homepage Journal
          "In the case of the /. effect, each and every viewing of the webpage is deliberately instigated by a separate human being."

          But what if a Lawyer made an argument along the lines of: "Slashdot intentionally posted a link to their site knowing that an overwhelming increase of traffic would hit my client's servers."? What if Blizzard, for example, attempted to sue Taco because of being flooded with too many hits (or negative emails) from opinions posted on Slashdot?

          The difference between Slashdot and a news site such as CNN is that more opinions make their way to the front page. For example, remember the article that said MS kicked Sony out of CeBit? That's not what happened, but that was the view it posted.
          • But what if a Lawyer made an argument along the lines of: "Slashdot intentionally posted a link to their site knowing that an overwhelming increase of traffic would hit my client's servers."?

            That's called public discourse! Do something wrong, people will talk about you. Make a real monster out of yourself and they might stop and stare. People are free to say and think what they might. It's part of what free speech is all about.

            If you don't want the public entering your web site, or building for that matter, you had better not make it public. If it's public, we might presume that you want visitors.

            If your layer can't tell the difference between many people visiting a site and an attack of broken Windoze machines, they don't know the difference between a protest and rolling a bus into a building. They might not know their ass from a hole in the ground either. Find another one.

      • > > "Everyone at my company has upgraded to Windows 3.1. I don't know why Slashdot is still talking about DOS"

        > Though I would agree that DOS is probably inhibiting people from getting data off certain sites off the net, they're talking about DoS.

        I read in Discover about someone with damage his right frontal lobe that couldn't understand humor. I guess you've taken one too many shots to the forehead, huh?

        • "I read in Discover about someone with damage his right frontal lobe that couldn't understand humor. I guess you've taken one too many shots to the forehead, huh?"

          If you read a little closer, I was attempting humor as well.

          "Though I would agree that DOS is probably inhibiting people from getting data off certain sites off the net..." -- get it?

          Maybe i should have said "...probably inhibiting A LOT of people..."

          Oh well.
      • Denial of Service attacks tend to use malformed packets and other malicious tricks. If your server has a web server on it, and it is merely responding to valid requests initiated by real individuals, that's not an attack that is trying to DoS the system. If, on the other hand, slashdot told everyone to send as many pings as possible, all at once, then that would be an attack.
        • I agree with your points. What saddens me, though, is that I'm not convinced a Lawyer would explain that difference in his case.

          Let's try another scenario, though. What if a Slashdot article posted an e-mail address for somebody to write legitimate complaints to. If a small company recieved 300,000 emails, that'd be a bit of a problem. Could a judge see that as an attack?
      • You never know what'll get into court, or who will win. Mysterious and unjust things can happen there sometimes. That said, one possible defense for /. might go like this:

        For a conventional DDoS attack, the script kiddie relies on other people's computers acting in a predictably (and automatic) bad way. Because the DoSing computers are doing something that is both automatic and justifiably enabled (e.g. ping reply), the users of those computers are not responsible for their ping replies. Having your machine reply to pings is not negligence on your part (whereas installing software known to be gratuitously dangerous and with a really bad reputation (IIS) may be). But if the ping-reply machine owners aren't responsible, then the person who made it happen (the script kiddie) is.

        For /. effect, Slashdot is not automatically causing thousands of other computers to send a request to a site. Instead, the human users of those computers are consciously (depending on your attitude of human nature) clicking a link. Since those users made a choice to hit the referenced site they are responsible for the traffic they generate. Thus the responsibility really is distributed, and doesn't rest solely upon /.

      • I'm asking if they could present a case and get it to court. Thoughts?

        Sure. As any lawyer will point out to you, you can sue anybody for anything. You might be liable for their attorney's fees if you lose, but you can sue anyone for anything and even make it to court.
    • Ofcourse it's dead. Microsoft has released DDoS (aka WinXP) [infoworld.com].
  • What, no mention of Slashdot DOS attacks?

    We even have our own word for it: "Slashdotted".
  • Wait until.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Steveftoth ( 78419 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @06:12PM (#3312611) Homepage
    someone writes a virus that spreads through the Kazaa or gnutella network. That will be a fun day.

    p2p is the biggest ddos mess waiting to happen. If there is a hole in the client, then who knows how far it could spread before stopping.
    • someone writes a virus that spreads through the Kazaa or gnutella network. I thought Kazaa was a virus.
      • Kazaa a virus? That brings this dialog to mind:

        "You are not an assasin, you are just a grocery boy running an errand."

        Kazaa is not a virus, it's just a billboard on an isecure platoform. It may do damage, but it's all due to incompetence and greed.

        The biggest threat to the security of the web is Windoze XP. At it's very best, it strains the public net and bombard the happless user with Adverts and other garbage not requested. At it's very worst, the backdoors that are used for all of that shoving will be exploited by porn masters and other nasties. Just hope and pray that the public wrath will turn on those responsible. After 15 years, they give us this and do their best to prevent all other options? Great.

    • Re:Wait until.. (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What?

      The Kazaa and Gnutella networks are protocols. Protocols can't catch viruses.

      A virus may travel via the network but it could travel equally well through email (which is a bit more popular, and more important, than the Kazaa or Gnutella networks). Now if you're talkinga 'bout attacking specific flaws in Kazaa client software, or Gnutella software, then so be it - but that's not the network!

      Moderate this fool back to 1.

      • Re:Wait until.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Liquor ( 189040 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @07:27PM (#3313022) Homepage
        The Kazaa and Gnutella networks are protocols.
        No, they are many computers running programs that implement protocols.
        Protocols can't catch viruses.
        True. Unfortunately, the Kazaa program installs more than one protocol handler - one is the file sharing protocol itself, and another is a 'distributed computing' facility that allows (theoretically only the Kazaa servers, but...) remote control of the machine. Compromising this functionality would allow distributing malware through the entire network.
        Now if you're talkinga 'bout attacking specific flaws in Kazaa client software, or Gnutella software, then so be it - but that's not the network!
        Well, if you infect all the machines that make up a network using a flaw in the code that creates that network, I'd have to say that the network is infected. And if there is an attack that works on any client, then the first machine compromised already knows the addresses of more machines... worm code that uses the network topology (which is NOT the protocol) could then propagate to the entire network - potentially millions of machines, dwarfing the scale of even the 'code red' worm.

        And if that's not effectively spreading through the network, I don't know what would be.
        Moderate this fool back to 1.
        The parent of your post is not the fool - but you definitely failed to understand the post.

        • Moderate this fool back to 1.

          The parent of your post is not the fool - but you definitely failed to understand the post.

          Who's the more foolish, the fool, or the fool who replies to him?

          *shrug*

          Too much 3AM Jedi Outcast...

  • by NickV ( 30252 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @06:12PM (#3312612)
    /. has gotten more popular! That's probably why we're seeing more DOS attacks! I mean, there's been one (Linux PVRs [cadsoft.de]) today already.

    Or, maybe not...
  • Obvious... (Score:2, Redundant)

    by eli173 ( 125690 )
    > We get them constantly- some intentional, some not. It's really a pain.

    And what about causing them? /. effect? Hmmmm???

  • by CaseStudy ( 119864 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @06:12PM (#3312615) Homepage
    Get them? You produce them constantly.
  • We get them constantly- some intentional, some not. It's really a pain.

    And create them inadvertently all the time. ;)
  • a DoS attack no one can resist.... the /. effect of course - with half a million geeks around the world clicking on their mouse in one swift move and crash comes whatever machinery there is buttressing their site ;)
  • DoS sucks (Score:5, Insightful)

    by El Volio ( 40489 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @06:13PM (#3312630) Homepage
    Having been on of the admins for a pretty large website (top 50 according to Media Metrix), I can definitely state that DoS attacks are a royal pain. Sure, you can throw infrastructure at a problem and alleviate it, but you can't defeat it -- and they just keep coming. It's the type of attack I've never understood: it doesn't gain the attacker anything (unlike rooting a box), it's nothing but being a hoodlum.
    • It's the type of attack I've never understood: it doesn't gain the attacker anything.

      Sure it does! Can't make Hotmail work right? Well, just blast away everything else from AOL to Yahoo with spam. Don't like what Slashdot is saying about your "product"? Just sign up 100 troll accounts and flood the comments with enough highly moderated garbage to try a saint. Denial of someone else's service is good when you are a twisted greedhead that wants to own everything and tell everyone what to do.

    • by DocSnyder ( 10755 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @08:55PM (#3313352)
      it doesn't gain the attacker anything (unlike rooting a box)

      Sometimes DoS can be a not-really-fine but very effective method of self-defense. In Germany we have a quite big problem with spam advertising dialers - little programs which redirect a w1nd0z3 box's internet dialup connection to an extremely expensive special number which is normally used for phone sex or premium services. One short connection can cost up to 900 € (that's no joke, there's no limit), and as some dialers hide well while replacing the default connection, some people got a phone bill of more than 10000 € at the end of the month.

      During the second halfth of March, I got about five of these dialer spams each day. Other people got even more. The web hoster - a company [mainpean.de] selling these dialers [stardialer.de] - didn't act against any incidence of spam, the download accounts remained open for weeks regardless of any complaints. Their uplink... well, UUnet. As the discussion on the Usenet forum "de.admin.net-abuse.mail" went on, even the web hoster's boss himself joined and couldn't understand to be responsible for knowingly tolerating his customers abusing his service - of course he made a lot of money even by spamvertised dialers.

      About a week ago, some spam victims were completely fed up. As the legal methods didn't work at all, the dialer should be made unavailable by distributed mass-downloading. The threat escalated in a clear message to the site maintainer - either go against your spamming customers or see your dialer being downloaded until the server blows the whistle.

      The story appeared on Heise News [heise.de] which has a quite large reader base in Germany, to be read by lots of angry people whose inboxes were full of dialer spam. The "Heise effect" was enough for the site maintainer to become really scared - lots of DSL and broadband users started to download the dialer not only once but as often as they could. The web server became too busy to serve dialers even to people who would want it. The company selling these dialers didn't have any choice - either stop supporting spammers or have their dialer server slashdotted until it blows the whistle. Only a day later the company's boss agreed on getting rid of and seeking legal action against spamming customers.

      A few days later, another spam went around, advertising a dialer hosted on an Eastern-European web server. Same game: the spam victims squeezed the dialer out of the web server as many times as possible. The site got hosed so badly that even a few hours after the spam incident, the dialer was no longer available.

      As a result, if you really want to hit a spammer, DoS^H^H^H/.ing his web site - especially large files or CGI scripts - has finally proved as much more effective than blacklisting, LARTing or anything else (which still remains useful, though). Even big providers will notice a gigabyte-large traffic peak towards only one target.

      • What you are describing is not DOS. This is pushing "fair" use to its "fair" limits. Yes. I can use all of my spare DSL bandwidth to screw someone over. Actually with QoS deployed on my gateway Linux or BSD box I would not even notice it.

        And it sounds like a jolly good idea. Methinks I need to write a HowTo so people who are not that profficient in Linux/BSD admin can do it. Let's face it the relevant parts of Linux and BSD docs are nightmarish and they are not end-user material.

        Brgds,
  • by crystalplague ( 547876 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @06:14PM (#3312635)
    In exchange for the halting of DoS attacks on Slashdot...I demand 1 free subscription to yours truly. If you do not submit to my demand, you will feel the full wrath that is my 31337 |-|@X0r SkI11z.

    Muwahahahaha!
  • by dadragon ( 177695 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @06:14PM (#3312636) Homepage
    The thing that really bugs me about DOS attacks, besides the fact that they cause damage and annoy admins, is that they don't show any real talent.

    It's not impressive to bring a system to its knees by DOSing it. You do, however have to respect the guy who discovers some huge hole that he exploits on some system and gains access.

    You gotta respect him more if he tells you about it, and how to fix it.
      • The thing that really bugs me about DOS attacks, besides the fact that they cause damage and annoy admins, is that they don't show any real talent.

      Sure, a simple DoS attack is pretty rudimentary, and also not difficult to deal with, generally, but the really effective DoS attacks, DDoS attacks are much more impressive. As you yourself say:

      • You do, however have to respect the guy who discovers some huge hole that he exploits on some system and gains access.

      DDoS attacks involve gaining access to a lot of machines and coordinating an attack.

      The only DoS attacks that make news are DDoS attacks.

      • You gotta respect him more if he tells you about it, and how to fix it.

      Well, DDoSers generally don't rise to this level of respect. :-)

      • DDoS attacks involve gaining access to a lot of machines and coordinating an attack.

        But if the script kiddie is just using the same rootkit to exploit a bunch of poorly-maintained boxen on cable modems, that's just persistance, not skill.

      • DDoS attacks make news more than single-machine DOS attacks for two reasons - one is that taking over a few thousand machines is a pretty impressive task for a Skriptz Kidd13 with too much time on his hands, but it's Been Done Now. But the other is that doing a non-distributed DOS attack on a server that's big enough to be interesting is pretty hard. Taking over a single average-quality-administation machine isn't hard, though it's harder than scribbling the front page of a web server, and even that makes news some times (e.g. the Central Stupidity Agency scribbles.) But taking down a big site means either attacking a bunch of heavily-administered machines hard and fast enough to outrun the administrators, or coming up with a really subtle and nasty attack, or finding a big security hole, or else just using a big bunch of zombies to do the job. Most vandals go for the latter approach.
  • Here's an additional, brief explanation [cornell.edu] of general DoS attacks for the ones waking up from cryostasis.

    -- dforce

  • At least... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Veramocor ( 262800 )
    At least now a days it a takes a modicum of sophistication to launch a DoS attack. I remember when it was possible to download windows programs to Win Nuke(win 95 vulnerability) people at will.

  • DOS attacks are rarely about sophistication - it's pure destructive potential. Script kiddies bragging on IRC channels about the number of "zombies" they've managed to acquire via the latest script that some grey-hat with genuine skills has written - eventually the bragging gets to a point where they have to do something with all their proudly acquired toys. Usually against some other l337 haxxOR who has impugned their skills.

    Save rather than beating each other senseless (which would be so, so much more preferable), they're compromising systems and using them as their weapons - costing users and admins hundreds of work-hours so they can prove something.

    Hell, at least "tagging" doesn't take down the damn company server.

    • by BakaMark ( 531548 ) <marklNO@SPAMnetluminous.com.au> on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @06:58PM (#3312881) Homepage
      DOS attacks are rarely about sophistication - it's pure destructive potential.

      Sometimes you have to wonder about some of the targets of these DOS attacks and how they are organised.

      Some of the major ones are obvious, Microsoft, Ebay, Yahoo, etc. But when you start to get to the small to medium sized companies being hit by large DOS attacks, because their systems are sufficiently patched against break-ins, something begins to become worrying.

      The questions range from why such a small target for such a large attack, and how the target was selected. Occasionally you get to hear stories about how some small ISP had their lines choked by a huge DDOS, meaning that customers started leaving and going to the competition. There is one other post elsewhere here that identified that a British ISP was put out of business because of the efforts of continous DOS attacks.

      Spite sometimes is a factor, but it takes a certain degree of organisation to launch a continous attack such as that. Spite of someone will only get you so far. And there is not that much prestige in taking out a medium sized company. After all within the current climate, medium sized and some large sized companies are finding it harder to remain in business from an economic sense.

  • by Burritos ( 535298 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @06:16PM (#3312655) Homepage
    How can one hack with DOS? You need Linux to be a hax0r
  • by IronClad ( 114176 )
    We get them constantly- some intentional, some not. It's really a pain.

    Isn't an unintentional attack an oxymoron? Like an intentional accident?

    • "Isn't an unintentional attack an oxymoron? Like an intentional accident"

      If I was doing a ballet move and slapped you in the face, would you rather label that as an accident or tell people that I used my powerful ballet technique to bitch slap you?
    • Unintentional attacks do happen - that article on Slashdot pointing to www.myserver.org [127.0.0.1] instead of www.myserver.com [127.0.0.1], or some TV commercial giving out your 888 number instead of the correct 877 number or whatever, or having somebody type your phone number into their ginsu-fax-o-matic by accident and having the thing keep calling you. Yes, it wasn't deliberate, but it feels just about the same.

      Some DDOSer once cracked one of my DSL lab machines and was pinging home to his box at MIT - except it wasn't really MIT, he'd gotten the byte order wrong on his IP address somehow and was trying to phone home to Japan.

  • by dR.fuZZo ( 187666 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @06:18PM (#3312675)
    A recent study has shown that there's a direct correlation between the number of denial of service attacks reported and the number of stories Slashdot posts in a day.

  • Harumph. An article about DOS/DDOS that doesn't mention Dave Dittrich.

    There oughta be a law.
  • DrDoS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ZaneMcAuley ( 266747 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @06:21PM (#3312704) Homepage Journal
    Distributed Reflection Denial of Service

    http://grc.com/dos/drdos.htm

    Looks nasty :D
    • Re:DrDoS (Score:3, Informative)

      by Osty ( 16825 )

      Steve Gibson is a kook and a crackpot. He's an alarmist, but unfortunately people not "in the know" tend to listen to him (most likely because he is an alarmist). He rails against raw sockets in XP, never bothering to notice that NT (which XP is based upon) has had raw sockets for a long time, and that it's possible to modify the Win9x TCP/IP stack to allow for raw socket-like abilities. Nevermind that raw sockets are only available to administrative users in NT, as with any *nix (problem -- too many users run with administrative rights on NT, which is the equivalent of running as root all the time. This is the true problem, not raw sockets, and should be the one that's addressed). His "Distributed Reflection" DoS is nothing new. Hax0rs and kiddies have been doing it for a while. His GENESIS [grc.com] project is basically poorly-implemented SYN cookie protection. And so on and so on ...


      In short, the guy's a nut and only nut's pay attention to him. Try a real security site, like SecurityFocus [securityfocus.com].

      • Re:DrDoS (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kris_J ( 10111 )
        I don't think you realise how different servers are to desktops. XP is being used by your average 12:00 flasher, while NT is typically used by the most computer literate person in the company. For every NT box out there you're looking at maybe 50 desktops, many of which will soon be XP. DDOS is a numbers game, so anything that increases the proportion of powerful, badly maintained PCs that can craft any damn packet they feel like this not a good thing.

        Sure, SG is paranoid, but in a good way. He hasn't reached the kook level just yet. When he starts promoting cold fusion, then you can back away slowly.

        • When he starts promoting cold fusion, then you can back away slowly.

          Unless he really is performing cold fusion, in case you should run away quickly or put on some lead pants.
        • Re:DrDoS (Score:5, Informative)

          by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Wednesday April 10, 2002 @01:29AM (#3314471)
          I still agree with the orignal poster that he's a huge alarmist and a sensationalist. Look at his whole shtick on "NanoProbes" (http://grc.com/np/np.htm). He talks about this like it is some new-to-the-world technology. When you read through all the marketing bullshit you come to realise it is nothing more than sending things like empty syn packets and stuff nmap and the like have done for years.

          Gibson has a real overinflated sense of his own importance and loves to make it sound like all his discoveries are huge and that the consequences of not obeying his advice are dire. However you begin to notice that he is never mentioned in any of the big security news. He's a smart guy and a deceant programmer, no doubt, but he lets his ego get in the way of his good judgement and has a tendency to exegarate the truth.
      • Re:DrDoS (Score:2, Informative)

        by Rude Turnip ( 49495 )
        He does go on to state that raw sockets are only a problem in administrator mode. The real cause for panic is that under WinXP, every user is administrator by default. Yes, we know that is bad, but the average user has no idea what's going on. To make matters worse, most programs won't run properly under XP if you aren't logged in under an administrative account, especially games.

    • Distributed Reflection Denial of Service

      Why do the names of these service-denial attacks tend to coincide with the names of 16-bit embedded PC operating systems? For example, the generic term "DoS" (denial of service) collides with "DOS" (disk operating system). The term "DRDoS" (distributed reflection denial of service) looks like "DR DOS" (Digital Research disk operating system [drdos.org]).

  • Hmmm... call me paranoid, but CNN carrying such an article in a time when a lot of limitations and regulations are attempted on everything even remotely connected to "digital", "internet" and "infrastructure" can't be good.

    What better reason to sniff all the traffic, on the backbone? Oh yes, they'll get the mails also, but hey - nobody's gonna read it...
  • MS-DOS (Score:3, Funny)

    by knuu ( 449167 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @06:27PM (#3312734)

    WRT this [slashdot.org]: If someone 0wned the Windows Update server and used it for a DoS attack on other servers, would that be called an MS-DoS attack?
  • by marekk ( 572361 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @06:29PM (#3312745)
    A very engrossing read can be found at Steve Gibson's homepage [grc.com] of his account of the DDoS attack grc.com was subjected to earlier this year.

    In effect, Gibson tracked down the 13 year-old attacker by dissecting the zombie program (aka, trojan bot) used in the attacks and created his own version of the undercover bot to monitor the hacker's IRC channels and conversations. As I said before, an extremely interesting read. It really brings out the urgency of Gibson's alerts as to the future of DDoS attacks.
  • by Sase ( 311326 ) <sase AT 5ecg DOT com> on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @06:36PM (#3312785) Homepage
    Will there ever be an end to Dos Attacks?

    I don't think there can be.

    If you look at the TCP/IP, and most importantly IP protocol, there is nothing you can do.

    Some would say have a 'supersmart' router that would kill all packets that are from the same host.. but what's the point.. what if the router fills up its buffer?///...

    It's like McDonalds at lunch... everyone gets there at the same time.. they all want something, they're going to pay (in a DoS attack, this is what it *looks*like, but its really one person doing this) so the lines get long.. Poor me can't get lunch as fast a possible..
    there's nothing we can do to solve the problem unfortunately.

    The only real solution is to beef up security on as many systems as possible. Once this is done, a hacker can't get the resources in order to launch a big DoS attack.

    This is a really hard task, of course... but maybe security should be more of a main focus on the home desktop systems, especially since broadband is getting so easy to obtain.

    Another reason why M$ needs to get their thumbs out of their a$$e$ and release more secure OS's... Open Source is already trying to actively take care of the problem :)

    Whee
    -Sase
    • For stopping these things, or at least ending them fairly quickly, how about an automated "upstream notification" procedure built into web servers, routers and firewalls. Thus, the admin doesn't have to manually notify their provider, the provider gets notified more or less in real time and dynamically adds a rule, and then passes it upstream to the next link. Of course, you would have to have certificates or key pairs that match to have the rule added, otherwise the packet to change the rules gets dropped.

      It certainly seems a big step up from what we have now.
  • by LojaK ( 79978 ) <slashdot@@@esoteric...ca> on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @06:37PM (#3312789) Homepage
    One of the most common problems I've encountered in my years as a systems administrator is poorly managed networks. If a network is designed without the presence of mind anticpating DoS attacks, then frankly, the victim company deserves *some* of the blame for the problem.

    One mid-sized ISP I worked for had been operating for 5 years prior to my employ and the network operators had never heard of monitoring tools like MRTG [ee-staff.ethz.ch], RRDTool [ee-staff.ethz.ch], Netsaint [netsaint.org] or Big Brother [bb4.com] etc etc!

    "We do it to ourselves and that's what really hurts" -- Radio Head.

    -- Steve.
  • Academically boring (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tim Ward ( 514198 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @06:58PM (#3312877) Homepage
    I went to a talk by Roger Needham (a few years ago now, I don't know if this is still his view) on secure protocols. Lots of interesting stuff on strategies for designing secure protocols and algorithms, and theoretical attacks and so on.

    But just passing mention of DOS attacks - these are boring to academics because they are easy to do and impossible to counter so there's no research to do and no papers to write.

    (I paraphrase slightly, and I probably remember the details wrong anyway, so any flaming should be directed at me, not Roger.)
  • Picture what Kazza is doing... Hijacking Gnutella... Just think if all those Gnutella clients were doing a DOS :)

    Just think if someone made a P2P client that allowed you to send browser commands through their computer :)

  • Our own webserver (Score:3, Interesting)

    by yoink! ( 196362 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @07:09PM (#3312926) Homepage Journal
    Through by no means has our little webserver been hit by DoS attacks (it is way to low profile, and not listed under any search engines), we nonetheless get about 3000 hits monthly trying to exploit a windows-based webserver.

    We have been lucky that we run Apache on a Linux box, which also happens to be on a DSL line, limiting upstream bandwidth. And although 3k hits is minimal, there are only about 10 regular users of the website, which is maintained for downloading test files for music production inside our group only. All the exploits are rediculously similar, each one trying to access C:\ or D:\ or a Windows NT directory. I'm sure that this must be very common... and I can't image what these major sites must deal with on an hourly basis.

    I find it sad though, that altogether too many webservers are managed by people who just aren't worried about this type of happening. The web remains the wild-west of the electronic frontier, brothels ;-) and all. Since many of us are against a global policing body, we, at the very least, need to make sure the alarms and defences on our own properties are capable and effective.
    • "...we nonetheless get about 3000 hits monthly trying to exploit a windows-based webserver..."

      um..

      It's called "Nimda".

      It has nothing to do with a DDoS.

      It's become one of the incessant background white noises of the internet.

      Hell, I get more than 3000 of those a month, at home on my dialup...

      t_t_b

      • I need to rid some Karma anyway... but hey dude... I thought I made it clear in my post that it wasn't DoS or DDoS attacks. You should read what people say. The first sentence is indicative that I understood this before I even began to rant in a fragmented and train-of thought fashion.
  • by Sarin ( 112173 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @07:10PM (#3312931) Homepage Journal
    Why does everyone allways accuse the scriptkiddies of performing DOS attacks - or worse they call it hacking a server with a DOS attack?

    I mean it takes some cunningness to 0wn a couple of hundred machines with a simple dail-up aol account..

    Some companies hire blackhat people to DOS their competitors once in a while, think of mail-servers. Other groups DOS certain sites because of their ethical/political/religious backgrounds. So now all of a sudden every "malicious" computer user is a scriptkiddie?

    The only scriptkiddies in these stories are the journalists that form their conclusions according to a certain script that's allways used when it's a story about something "evil" with computers.

    Don't be a scriptkiddie yourself by making these hollow statements
    • Why does everyone allways accuse the scriptkiddies of performing DOS attacks - or worse they call it hacking a server with a DOS attack?

      I mean it takes some cunningness to 0wn a couple of hundred machines with a simple dail-up aol account..


      Some one needs to brush up on thier definitions:

      Script Kiddie n. (skript kiddee): A person who uses software tools written by someone else to exploit known security exploits in operating systems and/or server software. A person who poses as being knowlegeable about computers and how these exploits affect said computers. See JeffK.

      And cunningness? To use Goolge [google.ca]? Come on. 3 pages into that search and I'd be in fear of my NT machines, were they not patched and behind an industrial strength firewall.

      Some companies hire blackhat people to DOS their competitors once in a while, think of mail-servers. Other groups DOS certain sites because of their ethical/political/religious backgrounds.

      So you want me to think that groups like these morons [aryan-nations.org] are capable of formulating a root exploit in order to DOS thier enemies? Right.I don't know of anyone who has half a brain that would help them do such a thing. Ergo, if they've zombied servers for DOS attacks, they're 5kr1p7 k1dd13z.

      So now all of a sudden every "malicious" computer user is a scriptkiddie?

      Not all, but most are. There are a few Black Hats out there who can pick apart any system they choose with tools of thier own creation. Those are the people who can strike terror into a network admin's heart - they find things that aren't known security holes, and are therefore almost impossible to stop.

      The only scriptkiddies in these stories are the journalists that form their conclusions according to a certain script that's allways used when it's a story about something "evil" with computers.


      See the definition above.

      Geez, you're defensive. Wonder why....

      Soko
  • Hmm.. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Peridriga ( 308995 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @07:20PM (#3312981)
    CNN is now wondering why...
    After publishing a story on DOS attacks it is receiving a DOS attack on the story about DOS attacks...
  • by Medievalist ( 16032 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @07:21PM (#3312987)
    /.
    Best Current Practice recommends egress filtering for all networks. Are yours in place?

    The big problem with DOS and DDOS is the untraceability provided by networks who do not prevent address spoofing with egress filters. If traffic is traceable, criminals get caught.

    Before anyone's knee jerks, let me point out:

    1) this is not a performance issue. Routing hardware and software (LRP for example) is widely and cheaply (compared to line costs) available that can implement egress filtering without any noticeable effect on line speed. Face it, processors are faster than telecommunications.

    2) Egress filters do not improve a repressive regime's ability to finger political dissidents.

    3) Egress filters are unlikely to impact privacy - unless what you are trying to keep private is destructive activity. Post a real example if you disagree.

    4) I know it's not a cure-all. It's a necessary first step, though.

    While Congress milks the entertainment industry for campaign funds in exchange for "digital rights management" facism, they ought to be mandating specific monetary penalties for businesses that do not implement egress filters, and for ISPs that do nothing about hundreds of Code-Red infected nodes on their cable farms. I shouldn't have to pay Comcast if my bandwidth is being principally used by criminals to fill my firewall logs.

    I post this every time the subject comes up; next time I'll just make a flippin' link to the BCP RFCs. I'm sure you'll all be relieved.

    --Charlie
  • by PhotoGuy ( 189467 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @07:51PM (#3313144) Homepage
    One of the biggest problems in DOS attacks, is that you just can't get the attention of major ISP's or backbones to trace and solve the problem.

    We had major DOS attacks on our site for ages. But when the customer of a major national ISP is the source of it, try getting ahold of someone at that company to track the problem. They just won't respond to these things, in our experience.

    I think that for any company to provide internet service, they should be *required* by law, to cooperate in tracking and stopping DOS attacks from their customers. There needs to be a consistent, predictable, and workable national policy for this.

    If someone calls me with threatening phone calls, I *know* it's possible to get the phone company to cooperate, track, and isolate the problem, even if it originates with another phone company. The same should be true with ISP's.
  • by simetra ( 155655 ) on Tuesday April 09, 2002 @08:16PM (#3313238) Homepage Journal
    I was thinking.... if the make scripts for various stuffs included a ping... Say for example ping that Linux counter project at the end of each Linux install... perhaps they would have a more accurate representation of the number of installs, IPs, etc. You could also through in a ping or sendmail to Microsoft telling them you've found the way out!
    Just a thought....
  • God bless K5 (Score:2, Insightful)

    by inerte ( 452992 )
    I learned what's an editorial comment there. Let's see:

    "One of the most basic "hacks" (to use the media's bastardization of the term) is a Denial of Service attack.

    You mean the hacker term or the Denial of Service term? Clarify.

    -1

    While not getting you any access to data on a machine,

    And since when is this the bastard hacker term meant to be? Hacker, by the media, would mean "cracker", and crackers don't want "information". Hackers do, crackers want to cause confusion (unless information == fast money/recognition)

    -1

    DoS attacks effectively shut down machines by making them inaccessable to others.

    Yeah? And how does this happens? Another assumption I understand all anacronyms out there.

    -1

    CNN is carrying and IDG.net story about

    No comments.

    -1

    how DoS attacks are still one of the leading threats on the Internet, and are actually on the rise as the sophistication of the attacks increases." We get them constantly- some intentional, some not. It's really a pain.

    Oooooh, finally the meat. That's what the news is about, not the opinion from who whatever wrote/published this article.

    -1.

    Grammar errors from me are a bonus.
  • I wish they would call this kind of attack a DoL (Denial of Liberty) or a DoC (Denial of Commerce). By disrupting our online work, whether it's for social, political or commercial reasons, these evil ones are practicing a soft form of terrorism.
  • What really gets me is how easily this problem can be (largely) remedied.

    A router for an ISP is resonsible for (typically) routing to/from a certain range of IP addresses.

    Configure the router to simply not route packets coming "from" the local network interface that's not in the designated IP range!

    So if it's coming from ISPs network, the return address on the IP packet had better be one of ISPs network addresses, or the packet goes to the bit bucket, better yet logged.

    This step ALONE, which costs almost NOTHING in latency or price would make dealing with DDoS or actual hack attempts SO MUCH EASIER!

    Of course, you could "spoof" a neighbor computer, but at least you could trace things down to the ISP and neighborhood...

    -Ben
  • This year, 3 ISPs and a web hosting firm in the UK have been DOSed off the net

    First, in January was Cloud Nine [theregister.co.uk]. They said it was so bad it trashed firewalls, and the network had to be rebuilt.

    This was quickly followed by Tiscali [theregister.co.uk]. (Although they're such a spamhaus, the net probably only noticed because the amount of spam from the UK dropped)

    Then soon after Donhost [theregister.co.uk], a web hosting firm had 2 client web servers taken out in January.

    Finally, yesterday, edNET [theregister.co.uk] was attacked, which caused, according to them a "catastrophic network failure". The attack here was via telnet ports.


  • We need to stop DoS attacks [and defacements], we need to educate the script kiddies into being more responsible and professional.

    The script kiddies conducting DoS attacks think they are being clever and aiding the movement towards Internet Freedom and Openness, however they are playing into hand of the establishment.

    DoS attacks are perpetuating the view amoungst the establishment that the internet is a wild unregulated place, that must be controlled, that it must be regulated.

    Legislation like the DMCA in the US, and pressures for similar laws in the EU are a direct result of this type of threat.

    If we truely value our freedom and the openness of the net, we need to self regulate otherwise the situation will get worse for all geeks and not just the grey/black hats.

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