DDoS Attack Specialist Archive

Over the past two weeks, the websites of multiple financial institutions–including Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, PNC, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo–have been targeted by attackers, leading to their websites being disrupted. Furthermore, some banks appear to still be suffering related outages.

That’s led more than 1,000 customers of those institutions to file related complaints with Site Down, a website that tracks outages. Customers have reported being unable to their access checking, savings, and mortgage accounts, as well as bill-paying and other services, via the affected banks’ websites and mobile applications.

Many of the banks’ customers have also criticized their financial institutions for not clearly detailing what was happening, or what the banks were doing about it. “It was probably the least impressive corporate presentation of bad news I’ve ever seen,” Paul Downs, a small-business owner in Bridgeport, Pa., told The New York Times, where he’s also a small-business blogger.

A hacktivist group calling itself the Cyber fighters of Izz ad-din Al qassam has taken credit for the attacks, which it’s dubbed Operation Ababil, meaning “swarm” in Arabic. It said the attacks are meant to disrupt U.S. banking operations in retaliation for the release of the Innocence of Muslims film that mocks the founder of Islam.

Some of the attacked banks’ websites still appear to be experiencing outages, but Dan Holden, director of security for the Arbor Security Engineering and Response Team, said he’s seen no signs that any active attacks are currently underway. “Obviously, we’re only one day into the week, but we didn’t see anything yesterday, and while [the Cyber fighters of Izz ad-din Al qassam] said in the previous post that they’d be working over the weekend, there haven’t been any new posts stating that they’d be doing new attacks,” he said.

Tuesday, however, multiple Wells Fargo customers were still reporting that they were having trouble accessing the bank’s website, or getting it to respond after they’d logged in. “Day 8, still can’t get in with Safari or Firefox … getting old. I have a business to run here,” said an anonymous poster to Site Down. “This is getting old,” said another.

Asked to comment on reports that the bank’s website was continuing to experience outages, a spokeswoman for Wells Fargo repeated a statement released last week, saying via email that “customers can access their accounts through the online and mobile channels.”

Multiple Bank of America customers Tuesday also reported problems with the bank’s website, with some people saying they’d been experiencing disruptions for 10 days or more. “I agree … with all the other comments about this problem of being unable to go on line. What in the world is going on–get it fixed!” said an anonymous user Sunday on the Site Down website. But Bank of America spokesman Mark T. Pipitone said via email that the bank’s website has been working normally since last Tuesday, and suggested that the scale of any reported website problems was within normal parameters. “We service 30 million online banking customers,” he said. “Our online banking services have been, and continue to be, fully functional.”

Given attackers’ advance warning that they planned to take down the banking websites–which suggested that they’d launch distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, why didn’t banks simply block the attacks? As one PNC customer said in an online forum, “Come on PNC! Never heard of content delivery networks to make these attacks more difficult?? … Please invest in a more capable network security team and take care of your customers!”

But Arbor’s Holden, speaking by phone, said that the attackers had used multiple DDoS tools and attack types–including TCP/IP flood, UDP flood, as well as HTTP and HTTPS application attacks–together with servers sporting “massive bandwidth capacity.” So while the attacks weren’t sophisticated, they succeeded by blending variety and scale.

Given the massive bandwidth used in the attacks, were they really launched by hacktivists, which is what the attackers have claimed they are? Former U.S. government officials, speaking anonymously to various media outlets, have instead directly accused Iran of launching the attacks. Regardless of whether Iran is involved, Holden said that the bank attacks don’t resemble previously seen hacktivist attacks, which typically involved botnets of endpoint-infected PCs, or people who opted in to the attack, for example by using the Low Orbit Ion Canon JavaScript DDoS tool from Anonymous.

“With Anonymous … you’d see those people coming together and launching an attack with a given tool,” Holden said. “With this, yes, you’re seeing multiple types of attacks, multiple tools, and while blended attacks are common, they’re not so common with classic hacktivism, or hacktivism that we’ve witnessed in the past.”

In other words, “we don’t know whether it’s hacktivism or whether it’s not,” said Holden. “There’s nothing really backing up the advertisement that this was a bunch of angry people. If it is, it’s people who have gone out with a particular skill set, or hired someone with a particular skill set, to launch these particular attacks.” But whoever’s involved in these attacks has quite a lot of knowledge related to the art of launching effective DDoS website takedowns, and has access to high-bandwidth servers, which they’ve either compromised, rented, or been granted access to.

Interestingly, the attackers do appear to have taken a page from the Anonymous attack playbook. “We don’t have all the information about which specific techniques have been used against the U.S. banks so far, but the ‘Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Cyber Fighters’ scripts are based on the JS LOIC scripts used by Anonymous as well,” said Jaime Blasco, AlienVault’s lab manager, via email.

But like Holden, Blasco said that the bank website attackers had used much more than just JavaScript. “The number of queries/traffic you need to generate to affect the infrastructure of those targets is very high,” he said. “To affect those targets, you need thousands of machines generating traffic, and … other types of DDoS.”

Source: http://www.informationweek.com/security/attacks/bank-site-attacks-trigger-ongoing-outage/240008314

GoDaddy is currently experiencing a massive DDoS attack. “Anonymous” was quick to claim responsibility, but at this point, there has be no confirmation from GoDaddy. GoDaddy only stated via twitter: “Status Alert: Hey, all. We’re aware of the trouble people are having with our site. We’re working on it.”

The outage appears to affect the entire range of GoDaddy hosted services, including DNS, Websites and E-Mail. You may experience issues connecting to sites that use these services (for example our DShield.org domain is hosted with GoDaddy).

At this point, I would expect GoDaddy to keep its users up to date via it’s twitter feed (http://twitter.com/GoDaddy ). I am not aware of a reachable network status page for GoDaddy.

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Source: http://isc.sans.edu/diary.html?storyid=14062&rss

David Joseph Rezendes, aka Joseph David Rezendes, aka Joe Rezendes, age 27, currently of California, was indicted by a federal grand jury on

August 21, 2012 on charges related to a denial of service attack he allegedly implemented to retaliate against the Larimer County government,

United States Attorney John Walsh and FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge James Yacone announced. He was arrested on August 23, 2012 in

Sonora, Texas following a traffic stop. Today Rezendes will make his initial appearance in the Northern District of Texas in Abilene. The

government is seeking to have him detained and brought back to Colorado by the U.S. Marshals.

According to the indictment and other court records, beginning on Wednesday, September 22, 2010, a debilitating denial of service attack was

launched against Larimer County government’s computer network. A denial of service attack makes a computer resource, such as a network or

processor, unavailable to its intended users. A common denial of service attack involves a computer or computer network saturating a targeted

victim computer system or network, overwhelming that system or network with traffic or communications requests. The attack lasted until

September 24, 2010. The denial of service attack affected Larimer County employees’ ability to access their email and the Internet, including

state computer systems. The Larimer County Sheriff’s Department and the FBI investigated the attack. As part of their investigation, law

enforcement executed a court authorized search warrant of Rezendes’ residence. Computers and computer components were seized during the

search. FBI case agents and Larimer County Sheriff’s Department computer forensic experts performed an analysis examining the data on the

computers, uncovering evidence that the defendant was in fact responsible for the denial of service attack. The indictment alleges that Rezendes

intentionally damaged a protected computer, possessed unauthorized access devices (credit card information), possessed an identification

document-making implement, produced a false identification document, and committed aggravated identity theft. The indictment includes an

asset forfeiture allegation, which states that upon conviction of the violations stated in the indictment, including possessing unauthorized access

devices, possessing an identification document-making implement, or providing false identification document, the defendant shall forfeit to the

United States any and all of the defendant’s right, title and interest in all property constituting and derived from any proceeds obtained directly

and indirectly as a result of such offense, or property used to commit the offense, to include computers and computer components.

“Thanks to the excellent cooperative investigative work of the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and the FBI, a computer hacker who allegedly shut

down Larimer County’s computer system for days has been arrested and will be brought to justice,” said U.S. Attorney John Walsh.

“The FBI strives to collaborate with our local law enforcement partners in a variety of cyber investigations through outreach and our task force

environment,” said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge James Yacone. “Due to the FBI’s computer intrusion investigations program, the

capabilities of all partners are enhanced leveraging everyone’s resources to effectively and efficiently investigate cyber criminals willing to affect

our communities’ public safety.” “The computer attack in this case had a significant impact on Larimer County both operationally and

financially,” said Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith. “We appreciate the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for assisting us in protecting the

taxpayers in Larimer County. Cyber-crimes of this nature underscore the importance of cooperation between local and federal officials and the

need for their expertise and assistance.”

If convicted, Rezendes faces not more than 10 years imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine for one count of intentionally damaging a

protected computer and one count of possession of unauthorized access device. He also faces not more than 15 years imprisonment and up to a

$250,000 fine for one count of possession of document-making implement and authentication feature and one count of production of a false

identification document. He also face not more than 2 years imprisonment consecutive to any other sentence and up to a $250,000 fine for aggravated identity theft. This case was investigated by the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The defendant is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Ryan Bergsieker.

The charges contained in the indictment are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Source: http://lawfuel.com/releases/–former-fort-collins-resident-indicted-for-denial-of-service-attack-on-larimer-county-government-32950/

The cyber wars are heating up, with the popular Russian government funded RT News becoming the latest victim to fall foul of a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that knocked the site out of action for around three hours earlier today.

RT News, whose pro-Russian government stance has seen them publish a number of stories in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, first revealed that its server was experiencing technical difficulties on Facebook, shortly before tweeting that its hosting provider had confirmed that a DDoS attack was the reason for the outage.

‘Antileaks’, the group that had earlier claimed responsibility for a similar attack on WikiLeaks, later claimed responsibility for taking down RT, although as of yet there is no proof that this group is behind the attacks. What is notable is that the attack came just hours before a guilty verdict was delivered against members of the punk band Pussy Riot, who have been highly critical of Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Antileaks tweeted that it was responsible for the DDoS attack just 20 minutes after RT had confirmed it, attaching a hastag in support of the Pussy Riot members. Shortly afterwards, WikiLeaks weighed into the war of words on Twitter, condemning the attack and suggesting that it was due to RT’s support of Assange rather than anything to do with the punk band. RT had previously hosted Assange’s personal chat show, in which one of his guests was none other than Ecudador’s President Rafael Correa.

RT hasn’t said anything about how they managed to overcome the attack, simply posting on Facebook that their English-language site was “back online after DDoS attack but we’re still experiencing some tech difficulties.”

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Source: http://siliconangle.com/blog/2012/08/17/rt-news-hit-by-ddos-attack-taken-offline-for-three-hours-this-morning/


A distributed denial-of-service attack aimed at AT&T’s DNS (Domain Name System) servers has disrupted data traffic for some of the company’s customers.

The multi-hour attack began Wednesday morning West Coast time and at the time of this writing, eight hours later, does not appear to have been mitigated.

“Due to a distributed denial of service attack attempting to flood our Domain Name System servers in two locations, some AT&T business customers are experiencing intermittent disruptions in service,” an AT&T spokesman told IDG News Service by email. “Restoration efforts are underway and we apologize for any inconvenience to our customers.”

The attack appears to have affected enterprise customers using AT&T’s managed services DNS product.

“Our highest level of technical support personnel have been engaged and are working to mitigate the issue,” AT&T said in a message on a service status page.

But it added there is “no estimated time” for restoring the service.

DNS is responsible for converting human-friendly domain names into the numeric IP (Internet protocol) addresses that computers use to route data. When it fails, computers are unable to route data to its intended destination, even though the destination server remains online and accessible.

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack attempts to flood a server or system with so many packets of data that it becomes difficult or impossible to reach for legitimate traffic. It doesn’t necessarily stop the server from working, but the overload of data results in the system being all but unusable.

Service is returned to normal when the attack stops or when engineers find a way to absorb or deflect the nuisance traffic.

“We got our first report of problems at 6:31 a.m. Pacific time,” said Daniel Blackmon, director of software development, at Worldwide Environmental Products. The company tests vehicle emissions and has remote units deployed that report back to central servers.

“The problems mean none of the equipment we have in the field can contact our servers, and there is a limit to the amount of information they can hold offline.”

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Source: http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/260940/atandt_hit_by_ddos_attack_suffers_dns_outage.html