“The prevalence of mobile devices and the widespread availability of downloadable apps that can be used for DDoS is a game changer,” said Stuart Scholly, president of Prolexic. “Malicious actors now carry a powerful attack tool in the palm of their hands, which requires minimal skill to use. Because it is so easy for mobile device users to opt-in to DDoS attack campaigns, we expect to see a considerable increase in the use of these attack tools in 2014.”
Data gathered in Q4 from attacks against Prolexic’s global client base shows that mobile devices participated in a DDoS attack campaign against a global financial services firm. Digital forensics and attack signature analysis detected the use of AnDOSid, an Android operating system tool that performs an HTTP POST flood attack.
“Mobile devices add another layer of complexity,” explained Scholly. “Because mobile networks use super proxies, you cannot simply use a hardware appliance to block source IP addresses as it will also block legitimate traffic. Effective DDoS mitigation requires an additional level of fingerprinting and human expertise so specific blocking signatures can be developed on-the-fly and applied in real-time.”
Prolexic believes that developers of applications commonly used in DDoS attacks like Low Orbit Ion Canon (LOIC) will increasingly port them to mobile platforms in 2014. “Traditionally, some type of infection or malware was required,” said Scholly. “With mobile apps, malicious actors can choose to proactively participate in orchestrated DDoS attack campaigns. When you consider how many mobiles device users there are in the world, this presents a significant DDoS threat.”
The largest DDoS attack Prolexic mitigated in Q4 peaked at 179 Gbps, which is the largest DDoS attack the company has faced to date. Attack sizes continue to grow and this quarter, Prolexic mitigated several attacks over 100 Gbps.
As in previous quarters, malicious actors continued to favor launching Layer 3 and Layer 4 attacks targeting infrastructure elements. Infrastructure attacks accounted for 76.76 percent of total attacks during the quarter with application layer attacks making up the remaining 23.24 percent. UDP (13.15 percent), UDP fragment (17.11 percent), DNS (9.58 percent), SYN (14.56 percent) and HTTP GET (19.91 percent) floods were the most common attack types directed against Prolexic clients. The CHARGEN protocol, commonly used in reflection attacks, increased 92.31 percent this quarter, illustrating the growing popularity of this attack type.