Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks have changed dramatically in the past decade since Barrett Lyon, who helped establish the DDoS mitigation market, and other security experts fought mainly extortionist attackers holding machines for ransom. Lyon, founder and CTO of a new startup called Defense.net, says his firm is filling a new requirement for "reinsurance" in DDoS defenses in the face of more powerful and pervasive attacks.
Defense.net offers a new service called SWAT that is at the ready when an organization's primary DDoS service provider is hit and overwhelmed by concurrent attacks on multiple customers, for example. The startup says SWAT sits on standby in case of a major and widespread DDoS event, such as the wave of attacks recently waged on U.S. financial institutions.
"We stand behind whatever primary DDoS [service] you have. We configure with your network so that in the event they go down, within eight seconds, you can go to us during those hours your primary vendor is down," says Chris Risley, CEO of Defense.net. Risley says the SWAT service provides 10 times the capacity per customer as other DDoS service vendors, noting that regulators and banks are worried about more industrywide DDoS attacks overwhelming their existing DDoS defenses.
Lyon says SWAT, in theory, could serve as a first line of DDoS defense. "But that's not where we're focusing," he says. "This is a big reinsurance opportunity, and our investors have backed us to pursue it."
Defense.net's Risley says his firm expects hacktivists in the fourth quarter of this year to exploit newly discovered flaws in the intelligent platform management interface (IPMI) found in Web servers. These flaws include exploitable privilege escalation, shell injection, and buffer overflow.
And government-sponsored attackers are getting more sophisticated toolkits for their attacks, which is also raising the risks, he says. "We think these attacks are going to continue to grow," Risley says.
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