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

8/7/2009
01:29 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

DDoS Attacks On Twitter, Facebook Result Of Massive Attack On One Person

Botnet attack takes aim at pro-Georgian blogger and leaves collateral damage on social networking sites

It turns out yesterday's major distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that shut down Twitter for hours and disrupted Facebook and LiveJournal came out of a targeted attack waged against one individual with accounts on all of the sites.

A pro-Georgian blogger called "Cyxymu" was apparently the intended target of the massive DDoS that knocked down Twitter and caused major slowdowns on Facebook and LiveJournal when a botnet apparently blasted waves of traffic at his accounts on the sites simultaneously in an effort to shut down his communiques.

Cyxymu tweeted yesterday on his Twitter profile that the attackers were "Russian KGB." The blogger, who later unmasked himself to CNN as "George," 34, of Tbilisi, Georgia, told the cable giant that his recent blog posts may have triggered the attacks. One post, he told CNN, discussed "how Russia was preparing military aggression (sic) against Georgia, how they were training soldiers and mobilizing military equipment, what kind of provocations were carried out by the separatists prior to the war," according to the CNN report. He also said the attacks were timed to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the Russia-Georgia conflict.

As of this morning, Cyxymu's LiveJournal site was still down.

Various reports attributed the attack to an email spam run gone wild, but security experts dismissed that theory, saying it had to be a coordinated attack from bots. "There's no way that simply spamming out email containing the links would generate that kind of traffic to the social networking sites. There simply wouldn't be enough people who would click on the links to create a DDoS," says Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant for Sophos. "So this must have been a 'traditional' DDoS attack from compromised computers [that] could hammer the Websites with multiple requests every few seconds."

Twitter acknowledged it was working with other services on "what appears to be a single, massively coordinated attack. As to the motivation behind this event, we prefer not to speculate." It said no user data was compromised.

Facebook confirmed the attacks were going after one person: "Yesterday's attack appears to be directed at an individual who has a presence on a number of sites, rather than the sites themselves. Specifically, the person is an activist blogger and a botnet was directed to request his pages at such a rate that it impacted service for other users. We've isolated the issue and almost all of our users are able to enjoy the normal Facebook experience," the company said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Facebook's chief security officer, Max Kelly, is quoted in another report: "It was a simultaneous attack across a number of properties targeting him to keep his voice from being heard," he told CNET.

And from the blog of Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer for F-Secure: "Whoever is behind this attack, they had significant bandwidth available. Our best guess is that these attacks were done by nationalistic Russian hackers who wanted to silence a visible online opponent. While doing that, they've only managed to attract more attention to Cyxymu and his message."

In addition to the DDoS attacks on Cyxymu's Twitter, Facebook, and LiveJournal accounts, Hypponen says the blogger's YouTube account was DDoS'ed, and he was also targeted by a so-called "Joe Job'"spamming attack with email purported to be from "George" and trying to lure users to his blog on LiveJournal.

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

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Zero-Factor Authentication: Owning Our Data
Nick Selby, Chief Security Officer at Paxos Trust Company,  2/19/2020
44% of Security Threats Start in the Cloud
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  2/19/2020
Firms Improve Threat Detection but Face Increasingly Disruptive Attacks
Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  2/20/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
6 Emerging Cyber Threats That Enterprises Face in 2020
This Tech Digest gives an in-depth look at six emerging cyber threats that enterprises could face in 2020. Download your copy today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
How Enterprises Are Developing and Maintaining Secure Applications
The concept of application security is well known, but application security testing and remediation processes remain unbalanced. Most organizations are confident in their approach to AppSec, although others seem to have no approach at all. Read this report to find out more.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-8813
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-22
graph_realtime.php in Cacti 1.2.8 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary OS commands via shell metacharacters in a cookie, if a guest user has the graph real-time privilege.
CVE-2020-9039
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-22
Couchbase Server 4.x and 5.x before 6.0.0 has Insecure Permissions for the projector and indexer REST endpoints (they allow unauthenticated access).
CVE-2020-8860
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-22
This vulnerability allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on affected installations of Samsung Galaxy S10 Firmware G973FXXS3ASJA, O(8.x), P(9.0), Q(10.0) devices with Exynos chipsets. User interaction is required to exploit this vulnerability in that the target must answer a phone call. T...
CVE-2020-8861
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-22
This vulnerability allows network-adjacent attackers to bypass authentication on affected installations of D-Link DAP-1330 1.10B01 BETA Wi-Fi range extenders. Authentication is not required to exploit this vulnerability. The specific flaw exists within the handling of HNAP login requests. The issue ...
CVE-2020-8862
PUBLISHED: 2020-02-22
This vulnerability allows network-adjacent attackers to bypass authentication on affected installations of D-Link DAP-2610 Firmware v2.01RC067 routers. Authentication is not required to exploit this vulnerability. The specific flaw exists within the handling of passwords. The issue results from the ...