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Vulnerabilities / Threats

12/31/2008
12:26 PM
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Four Threats For '09 That You've Probably Never Heard Of (Or Thought About)

What could keep you up at night in the new year may not be what you expect -- a look at some of the lesser-known threats predicted for 2009

An Internet "e-bomb"

The attacks of 2008 indeed were focused on applications as the network perimeter was more secure. But before we knew it, our faith was shaken by disclosure of some major vulnerabilities in the Internet's TCP/IP architecture: the the Domain Name Service (DNS) cache-poisoning flaw and a denial-of-service vulnerability in the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) itself. Not to mention researchers' constant hacking of Cisco router software.

David Maynor, CTO with Errata Security, says '09 could be the year when the first large-scale and widespread attack occurs on the Internet's infrastructure. "I think with the [hacking] work being done on Cisco and routing gear in general we'll see the first wide-scale 'e-bomb' that will break peering between ISPs and make large portions of the Internet unreachable," Maynor says.

Most likely it will be a denial-of-service attack, he says, that will "break" sections of the Net.

Perimeter eSecurity's Prince says such an attack is indeed possible, but defending against it falls at the feet of the ISPs. He expects botnets to become used for more lethal purposes, such as launching large-scale attacks on the Net's underlying infrastructure. "Botnets today are rarely used for wide-scale attacks," he says. "I have wondered when they will harness that power. Such attacks against the Internet infrastructure could very easily be next year."

Next: Radical extremist hackers 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

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