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Attacks/Breaches

3/28/2008
07:20 AM
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CastleCops Hit by Another DDOS Attack

But this time, attackers employ a 'POST' attack

Security watchdog site CastleCops is currently under yet another distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack. The anti-spam, anti-malware site manned by volunteers has been under siege from waves of botnet traffic since Wednesday.

CastleCops is no stranger to DDOS attacks -- it gets hit regularly, with its most recent attack back in August -- but this one took a different spin on an old trick.

"Typically, attacks involve some sort of HTTP GET, but this one seems to include a POST instead," says Paul Laudanski, founder and administrator for the CastleCops site, who says he first detected the attack on Wednesday morning after noticing some performance problems with the site.

He initially witnessed a rise in the server load and a pattern in the server logs that indicated a DDOS, he says.

The attack hasn’t taken down the site, but is causing occasional connectivity problems for visitors. "It appears we’ve attracted some fresh bots, too," Laudanski says.

"Apache has been saturated a few times already, necessitating manual httpd restarts, while ensuring bots are filtered," he says.

CastleCops, like other anti-spam and anti-cybercrime sites including Spamhaus, has been an obvious target for disgruntled bad guys due to its community-based efforts to investigate malware and phishing attacks, as well as its collaboration with other researchers and law enforcement.

"I think the question is: When isn’t CastleCops under DDOS attack? They are constantly being hit," says Alex Eckelberry, CEO of Sunbelt Software .

To mitigate the DDOS attack, CastleCops has been filtering traffic based on the attack fingerprint, according to Laudanski, and posting the offending IP addresses, which has kept the attack from crippling the site. And one member of the CastleCops community noted on the site's message board that the attack indicates that CastleCops has struck a nerve with the dark side.

"We have been rattling a lot of cages lately and to me, this DDOS shows we are on the right track," writes "Ernstl."

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

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