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.

Risk

11/29/2010
02:29 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

New HTTP POST DDoS Attack Tools Released

Very slooowwww HTTP POST connections wage denial-of-service attack on Web-based servers

Two free tools have been unleashed that exploit the recently demonstrated slow HTTP POST attack that takes advantage of a generic flaw in HTTP -- the so-called "R U Dead Yet?" tool and the OWASP HTTP POST Tool.

Slide Show: DDoS With The Slow HTTP POST Attack
(click image for larger view)
Slide Show: DDoS With The Slow HTTP POST Attack

Researchers at last month's OWASP 2010 Application Security Conference in Washington, D.C., demonstrated how the HTTP protocol leaves the door open for attackers to wage a new form of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that floods Web servers with very slow HTTP "POST" traffic.

Researcher Wong Onn Chee, who first discovered the attack in 2009 with a team of researchers in Singapore, and Tom Brennan, a security researcher with Proactive Risk, also demonstrated how an online game could be used as a means of recruiting bots for an "agentless" botnet that executes this HTTP POST DDoS attack. Chee says HTTP is broken and that all Web-based servers or systems with a Web interface are vulnerable to this attack. "If it has a Web interface, we can knock it down [with this attack]," Chee said earlier this month.

Independent researcher Raviv Raz unleashed "R U Dead Yet?" early last week, and then Chee and Brennan pushed out their tool on Thanksgiving Day.

Ryan Barnett, senior security researcher with Trustwave's SpiderLabs, has been testing the tools and devised some mitigation strategies using the open-source ModSecurity Web application firewall and Apache, namely specifying different thresholds for receiving data. Barnett uses the timely analogy of airport security screening to explain what happens in a HTTP POST attack: Unlike a traditional denial-of-service attack where there are just too many business-type frequent flyers in line to get the traffic through quickly, he says, this new "connection consumption" type of attack is like a relatively short line of travelers going through security -- most of whom are families with kids, strollers, and other items that take longer to screen.

"And just when you think the group is going to make it through, the metal detector sounds and the whole group has to go back through the process again. This is essentially what is happening with these slow HTTP requests," Barnett says. "They are sending data very slowly, and just when the Web server's timeout thresholds are about to be exceeded, they send a little more data."

An HTTP POST attack sends POST headers that let the server know how much data is arriving, but when it does the message body is sent a very slow speed to jam the connection and sap server resources. According to Chee, this attack can take down a website within minutes using just tens of thousands of slow HTTP POST connections.

Click here to view Onn Chee and Brennan's slides from their recent OWASP presentation.

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
How to Better Secure Your Microsoft 365 Environment
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/25/2021
Attackers Leave Stolen Credentials Searchable on Google
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  1/21/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
2020: The Year in Security
Download this Tech Digest for a look at the biggest security stories that - so far - have shaped a very strange and stressful year.
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Today's Enterprises
COVID-19 has created a new IT paradigm in the enterprise -- and a new level of cybersecurity risk. This report offers a look at how enterprises are assessing and managing cyber-risk under the new normal.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-4682
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-28
IBM MQ 7.5, 8.0, 9.0, 9.1, 9.2 LTS, and 9.2 CD could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on the system, caused by an unsafe deserialization of trusted data. An attacker could exploit this vulnerability to execute arbitrary code on the system. IBM X-Force ID: 186509.
CVE-2020-4888
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-28
IBM QRadar SIEM 7.4.0 to 7.4.2 Patch 1 and 7.3.0 to 7.3.3 Patch 7 could allow a remote attacker to execute arbitrary commands on the system, caused by insecure deserialization of user-supplied content by the Java deserialization function. By sending a malicious serialized Java object, an attacker co...
CVE-2020-13569
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-28
A cross-site request forgery vulnerability exists in the GACL functionality of OpenEMR 5.0.2 and development version 6.0.0 (commit babec93f600ff1394f91ccd512bcad85832eb6ce). A specially crafted HTTP request can lead to the execution of arbitrary requests in the context of the victim. An attacker can...
CVE-2021-20620
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-28
Cross-site scripting vulnerability in Aterm WF800HP firmware Ver1.0.9 and earlier allows remote attackers to inject an arbitrary script via unspecified vectors.
CVE-2021-20621
PUBLISHED: 2021-01-28
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in Aterm WG2600HP firmware Ver1.0.2 and earlier, and Aterm WG2600HP2 firmware Ver1.0.2 and earlier allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of administrators via unspecified vectors.