Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Endpoint

2/13/2016
08:00 AM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
100%
0%

Valentine's Day Inspires DDoS Attacks Against Online Florists

Security vendor Imperva says it has observed a sharp increase in automated bot traffic directed at florist sites.

Cyber criminals have shown a consistent tendency to exploit major news and seasonal events to slip phishing and other malicious attacks past unwary victims. And so it is with this Valentine’s Day as well.

Florists apparently have been receiving a lot of attention, of the unwanted variety, from online criminals, security vendor Imperva reported this week. All 34 of the company’s florist customers have experienced a sharp spike in traffic to their sites over the last few days. While some of the traffic is to be expected, considering the rush to order flowers for Valentine’s Day -- a lot of it is not.

According to Imperva, more than nine in 10 of the florist sites witnessed a sudden surge in bot traffic between February 5 and February 11. In about 23% of the cases, the spike in bot traffic was dramatic enough to cause problems. Contrary to what some might expect, the attack traffic did not appear to be opportunistic in nature. Rather, it looked as if the florists were being individually targeted in denial-of-service campaigns apparently designed to extort money from them.

One of Imperva’s florist customers reported receiving a ransom note, while another experienced an application-layer denial of service attack, Imperva said. In the case of the latter victim, the company’s Content Distribution Network (CDN) provider interpreted the botnet traffic as regular user sessions, resulting in the site exceeding its contracted cache capacity. This in turn caused the CDN to route the attack traffic through its own origin servers, resulting in their site going down under DDoS traffic.

A screenshot published on Imperva’s blog shows that some of the Web application attacks had originated in the United Kingdom, though one appeared to be from Latvia. Somewhat surprisingly, attackers were still going after old vulnerabilities such as Shellshock in an attempt to breach systems belonging to their targets, according to Imperva.

Florists can mitigate the threat by monitoring their traffic for unexpected behavior, like heavier than normal traffic spikes, or visits from unfamiliar IP addresses. “Any unusual activity could be 'dry runs' by attackers foreshadowing an imminent full-blown attack,” Imperva said.

The company also urged florists to monitor Twitter and sites such as Pastebin.com for chatter hinting at a potential attack on their sites.

The sudden spike in malicious traffic directed at online florists reflects a common tendency among cyber crooks to escalate malware campaigns and attacks around seasonal events and major news happenings.

Earlier this year, mobile network protection vendor Adaptive Mobile reported on a series of picture message spam campaigns on the Kik messenger service that were timed to coincide with seasonal events.

The spam messages involved the use of images belonging to well-known brands to try and get recipients to follow links to malicious websites. What was noteworthy was the fact that each campaign was tied to a specific event. For instance, one of the Kik spam campaigns was launched around Halloween, and featured an image message purportedly from Amazon. Another campaign around Thanksgiving involved spam featuring spoofed McDonalds images, while one in the days preceding Cyber Monday featured BestBuy-related spam.

While the campaign was not technically very sophisticated, the effort put into creating individual picture messages purporting to be from major brands, suggested a specialist campaign, Adaptive Mobile had noted.

Interop 2016 Las VegasFind out more about security threats at Interop 2016, May 2-6, at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Las Vegas. Register today and receive an early bird discount of $200.

Jai Vijayan is a seasoned technology reporter with over 20 years of experience in IT trade journalism. He was most recently a Senior Editor at Computerworld, where he covered information security and data privacy issues for the publication. Over the course of his 20-year ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 9/25/2020
Hacking Yourself: Marie Moe and Pacemaker Security
Gary McGraw Ph.D., Co-founder Berryville Institute of Machine Learning,  9/21/2020
Startup Aims to Map and Track All the IT and Security Things
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  9/22/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Special Report: Computing's New Normal
This special report examines how IT security organizations have adapted to the "new normal" of computing and what the long-term effects will be. Read it and get a unique set of perspectives on issues ranging from new threats & vulnerabilities as a result of remote working to how enterprise security strategy will be affected long term.
Flash Poll
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
How IT Security Organizations are Attacking the Cybersecurity Problem
The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world -- and enterprise computing -- on end. Here's a look at how cybersecurity teams are retrenching their defense strategies, rebuilding their teams, and selecting new technologies to stop the oncoming rise of online attacks.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-15208
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, when determining the common dimension size of two tensors, TFLite uses a `DCHECK` which is no-op outside of debug compilation modes. Since the function always returns the dimension of the first tensor, malicious attackers can ...
CVE-2020-15209
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, a crafted TFLite model can force a node to have as input a tensor backed by a `nullptr` buffer. This can be achieved by changing a buffer index in the flatbuffer serialization to convert a read-only tensor to a read-write one....
CVE-2020-15210
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In tensorflow-lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, if a TFLite saved model uses the same tensor as both input and output of an operator, then, depending on the operator, we can observe a segmentation fault or just memory corruption. We have patched the issue in d58c96946b and ...
CVE-2020-15211
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 1.15.4, 2.0.3, 2.1.2, 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, saved models in the flatbuffer format use a double indexing scheme: a model has a set of subgraphs, each subgraph has a set of operators and each operator has a set of input/output tensors. The flatbuffer format uses indices f...
CVE-2020-15212
PUBLISHED: 2020-09-25
In TensorFlow Lite before versions 2.2.1 and 2.3.1, models using segment sum can trigger writes outside of bounds of heap allocated buffers by inserting negative elements in the segment ids tensor. Users having access to `segment_ids_data` can alter `output_index` and then write to outside of `outpu...