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.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

4/25/2018
01:06 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

'Webstresser' DDoS Attack Site Shut Down in International Operation

Investigators arrested the admins of Webstresser, the world's largest DDoS marketplace reportedly responsible for more than four million attacks.

The world's largest online marketplace for selling and lauching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks was shut down this week as part of Operation Power Off, an international investigation into the so-called Webstresser.org site. The effort was led by the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) and Dutch National Police, with support from Europol and a dozen global law enforcement agencies, Europol reports.

Webstresser had more than 136,000 registered users, and threat actors have reportedly used it to launch at least four million cyberattacks, targeting government agencies, banks, police organizations, and victims in the gaming sector by flooding their servers with traffic, according to Europol.

The site simplified the process of launching DDoS attacks, once a threat mostly accessible to tech-savvy cybercriminals. Anybody, regardless of their technical skill level, could use Webstresser's online payment system or cryptocurrency to rent out stressers or booters, which were available for as little as 15 EUR/month and could be used for destructive DDoS attacks.

Stressers and booters are for-hire services that grant access to DDoS botnets. Most aim to make money under the pretense of offering a legitimate, useful service to test servers' resiliency. In reality, they usually don't require proof of identity from the individual launching the attack, nor do they ask whether the attacker is associated with the organization being targeted.

"As this event illustrates, it remains ridiculously cheap to rent a devastating DDoS attack from these so-called DDoS 'stressers' or on the Dark Web," says Andrew Lloyd, president of Corero Network Security. "In many territories, it also remains a criminal offence."

Authorities in five countries, including Canada, Croatia, Serbia, and the Netherlands, along with support from Europol and Police Scotland, arrested six suspected members of the group behind Webstresser on April 24. Dutch Police, with support from Germany and the US, seized servers and started the takedown of the site on the morning of April 25.

Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT) provided support for the investigation by enabling an information exchange among all participating organizations. On the day of the takedown, a command and coordination post was set up at Europol HQ. Europol reports measures were also taken against Webstresser's top users in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Croatia, the UK, Australia, Canada, and Hong Kong.

NCA officials believe an attacker linked to an address in Bradford, UK, used Webstresser to target seven of the UK's largest banks in November 2017. The banks were forced to scale back their operations and, in some cases, shut down entire systems, costing hundreds of thousands of pounds in recovery. The address was identified and searched as part of this effort.

John Fokker, McAfee's head of cyber investigations, notes how Webstresser points to the overall rise of attacks on the gaming sector, which is increasingly targeted as attacks become easier to launch. He also suggests a threat like this could have geopolitical implications.

"Attacks on gaming servers predominately committed by young people are becoming increasingly popular and the relative ease with which these attacks are carried out by individuals with little hacking experience is striking," he says. "Webstresser and other similar attacks suggest entire organizations or parts of a country can be disrupted for the price of a pound of good coffee beans."

Jo Goodall, senior investigating officer at the NCA, urged businesses and individuals to report cybercrime. In a statement, she points to the Action Fraud website, the UK's national fraud and cybercrime reporting center. Guidance on how to mitigate the effects of cyberattacks can be found at the National Cyber Security Centre website.

Related Content:

Interop ITX 2018

Join Dark Reading LIVE for a two-day Cybersecurity Crash Course at Interop ITX. Learn from the industry’s most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the agenda here. Register with Promo Code DR200 and save $200.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Why Vulnerable Code Is Shipped Knowingly
Chris Eng, Chief Research Officer, Veracode,  11/30/2020
Inside North Korea's Rapid Evolution to Cyber Superpower
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  12/1/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Todays Enterprises
Assessing Cybersecurity Risk in Todays 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-2020-25465
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
Null Pointer Dereference. in xObjectBindingFromExpression at moddable/xs/sources/xsSyntaxical.c:3419 in Moddable SDK before OS200908 causes a denial of service (SEGV).
CVE-2020-25461
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
Invalid Memory Access in the fxProxyGetter function in moddable/xs/sources/xsProxy.c in Moddable SDK before OS200908 causes a denial of service (SEGV).
CVE-2020-25462
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
Heap buffer overflow in the fxCheckArrowFunction function at moddable/xs/sources/xsSyntaxical.c:3562 in Moddable SDK before OS200903.
CVE-2020-25463
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
Invalid Memory Access in fxUTF8Decode at moddable/xs/sources/xsCommon.c:916 in Moddable SDK before OS200908 causes a denial of service (SEGV).
CVE-2020-25464
PUBLISHED: 2020-12-04
Heap buffer overflow at moddable/xs/sources/xsDebug.c in Moddable SDK before before 20200903. The top stack frame is only partially initialized because the stack overflowed while creating the frame. This leads to a crash in the code sending the stack frame to the debugger.