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.

Threat Intelligence

7/21/2020
06:20 PM
100%
0%

DDoS Botnets Are Entrenched in Asia & Amplification Attacks Set Records

China, Vietnam, and Taiwan are top sources of DDoS botnet activity, but the top data floods use a variety of amplification attacks, a report finds.

More than 4.7 million sources in five countries — the US, China, South Korea, Russia, and India — were used to level distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against victims in the second quarter of 2020, with the portmap protocol most frequently used as an amplification vector to create massive data floods, security and services firm A10 Networks says in its threat report for the second quarter. 

In its "State of DDoS Weapons" report for the second quarter of 2020, the company finds that China, Vietnam, and Taiwan accounted for more than a third of all DDoS botnet clients, while the most common high-volume floods used amplification attacks via portmap, the Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP), and the Simple Service Discovery Protocol (SSDP). 

For the most part, while the infrastructure has become somewhat more sophisticated, the attacks have remained the same, says Rich Groves, director of research and development at A10 Networks. 

"DDoS attacks have been evolving to use more vectors for the past few years, and this is no exception moving forward," he says. "In many cases, if the attack type works — as many reflection, amplification, syn floods have for years — they will not stop."

The peak volume of the largest attacks continues to grow. In the first quarter of 2020, Amazon Web Services noted a 23% increase in the number of "volumetric events," such as data floods, including a reflection attack with a peak volume of 2.3 terabits per second, more than 70% higher bandwidth than the previously largest attack. 

The attack recorded by AWS used an increasingly common — but still not top-five — amplification method that abuses the Connection-less Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (CLDAP) protocol. While less than 16,000 potential sources — or "weapons" in A10 Networks' parlance — of CLDAP reflection attacks were detected in the second quarter, the attacks do tend to hit above their weight class, A10 Networks stated in its report. 

"The AWS attack shows that even this fractional attack surface has the potential for generating very large scale DDoS attacks and the only way to protect against these attacks is to proactively keep track of DDoS weapons and potential exploits," the company states in the report.

Different countries had different collections of DDoS sources. China, Vietnam, and Taiwan had the most compromised systems used by attackers as DDoS clients — with the three countries accounting for a third of all botnet agents — while the United States, South Korea, and China had the most exposed servers that were used by attackers to stage amplification attacks. 

The most common vectors for DDoS amplification attacks included 1.8 million sources of portmap attacks, 1.7 million SNMP attacks, and 1.7 million SSDP attacks. 

For the most part, DDoS botnet clients — or "drones" — were established on compromised Internet of Things (IoT) devices, according to the report. The most common exploits used to establish such IoT botnets targets vulnerabilities in devices exposing a telnet connection, unpatched flaws in Netgear routers, and security issues in digital video recorders, the report stated.

With more people working from home, these vulnerable IoT issues will likely only become worse, says A10 Networks' Groves. "This behavior will not stop, unfortunately, and will just get worse as more IoT devices are adopted in the home, which seems to be happening during this lockdown period," he says.

While the total number of sources of distributed DDoS attacks in the second quarter seemingly declined by 54% year-over-year, A10 Networks changed its methodology in collecting data, focusing on unique sources of attacks in the most recent version of the data, which cuts the total number of sources by about half, a spokesperson says.

While the current quarter's "State of DDoS Weapons" report is not yet published, A10 Networks plans to publish a blog post on the results. 

Related Content:

 

 

Register now for this year's fully virtual Black Hat USA, scheduled to take place August 1–6, and get more information about the event on the Black Hat website. Click for details on conference information and to register.

Veteran technology journalist of more than 20 years. Former research engineer. Written for more than two dozen publications, including CNET News.com, Dark Reading, MIT's Technology Review, Popular Science, and Wired News. Five awards for journalism, including Best Deadline ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
RyanSepe
50%
50%
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
7/22/2020 | 10:30:58 AM
Despise DDoS
I despise DDoS. Though it can be effective it is such a low level of skill that anyone is capable of performing. Its basically the equivalent of that loudest person in the room. That being said, reflective DNS and amplication based DDoS display a semblance of tact but not to the point where it merits this much publicity. I say we let networking or our ISP's or our application scrubbers drop the packets on the floor and move on.
7 Tips for Choosing Security Metrics That Matter
Ericka Chickowski, Contributing Writer,  10/19/2020
IoT Vulnerability Disclosure Platform Launched
Dark Reading Staff 10/19/2020
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-2020-15270
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-22
Parse Server (npm package parse-server) broadcasts events to all clients without checking if the session token is valid. This allows clients with expired sessions to still receive subscription objects. It is not possible to create subscription objects with invalid session tokens. The issue is not pa...
CVE-2018-21266
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-22
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: none. Reason: This candidate was withdrawn by its CNA. Notes: none.
CVE-2018-21267
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-22
** REJECT ** DO NOT USE THIS CANDIDATE NUMBER. ConsultIDs: none. Reason: This candidate was withdrawn by its CNA. Notes: none.
CVE-2020-27673
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-22
An issue was discovered in the Linux kernel through 5.9.1, as used with Xen through 4.14.x. Guest OS users can cause a denial of service (host OS hang) via a high rate of events to dom0, aka CID-e99502f76271.
CVE-2020-27674
PUBLISHED: 2020-10-22
An issue was discovered in Xen through 4.14.x allowing x86 PV guest OS users to gain guest OS privileges by modifying kernel memory contents, because invalidation of TLB entries is mishandled during use of an INVLPG-like attack technique.