In the Line of Fire - The Morphology of Cyber-Attacks
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In the Line of Fire - The Morphology of Cyber-Attacks



Presentation from Dennis Usle during TakeDownCon in Huntsville, AL that discusses Availability-based threats; Attacks on U.S. banks and others popular attack patterns & trends.

Presentation from Dennis Usle during TakeDownCon in Huntsville, AL that discusses Availability-based threats; Attacks on U.S. banks and others popular attack patterns & trends.



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  • Radware breaks down the security model into three categories: Confidentiality, Integrity and Availability.Think of it as follows:Confidentiality: A compromise here results in the theft or destruction of business-critical information or customer dataIntegrity: Often linked to confidentiality but damage to a businesses systems obviously can have a major impact. An extreme example that you might have heard of would be the Stuxnet virus that was designed to damage the centrifuge machines used in Iran to purify nuclear material.Availability: The ability for your business to operate. Denial of Service attacks target this dimension – designed purely to disrutp business operation.
  • Here we have the 4 Primary Categories of Availability Based Threats, Network & Application Floods, Low & Slow and Single Packet DOS. The pie charts below illustrate actual use of these attack vectors based on ERT Case history. Over the past few years Application layer attacks have become a significant threat, with Web/SSL and DNS being the fast growing vectors.
  • Based on the Radware Global Security Survey of the industry 57% of attacks have unknown motive. 22% of attacks have an ideological/hacktivist motive.
  • 80% of respondents believe they are not protected and businesses will be impacted by DDOS attacks.
  • While Gaming, Ecommerce maintain risk. Government,Financial Institutions take the biggest shift toward bullseye! These are VERY Likely targets for 2013.
  • Attack Campaigns are becoming more and more persistent, with 23% of attacks lasting more than one week!
  • Shift from 2 Security Phases to 3Pre Attack – audit, vuln scanning, pen tests, etc.Post Attack - forensics, process adjustments, preparation, etc.NEW Phase Cyber War Room24/7Trained under fire (war games, etc)Coverage
  • SIZE
  • We are going to take a look at the attacks on the US Banks. We’ll review the attack source, motivation, duration, attack vectors and preparation.
  • -This pic is from the very beginning of the video, stating “There is an angry mob in the middle of the street”*Notes -  On September 9, 2012, an excerpt of the YouTube video was broadcast on Al-Nas TV, an Egyptian Islamist television station.[11][12]Demonstrations and violent protests against the film broke out on September 11 in Egypt and spread to other Arab and Muslim nations and some western countries.
  • -Libyan riots top left - riots bottom left -
  • Links about Izz as-Din al-Quassam The preacher - *Notes - The Levant includes most of modern Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, State of Palestine, Israel, Cyprus, Hatay Province of Turkey, some regions of northwestern Iraq and theSinai Peninsula.Links about the Cyber hacker group - from -
  • Claim to have no current ties to Anonymous Collective nor any Nation State.Goal is to have the Anti-Muslim Video taken off of YouTubeAbabil (Persian) translates to Swallow Links for translation of ababil - pic from - of Iranian involvement -
  • Pic taken from -
  • Data taken from internal doc.Phase 3 OpAbabil – Announced March 5th (ongoing) and expected to last 11 weeks. While Phase 3 is not in my presentation today . Encrypted Attacks are a BIG problem for the current protection in place.
  • -Taken from internal report.
  • -Taken from internal report.
  • Reflective attack - Attackers send forged requests of some type to a very large number of computers that will reply to the requests. Using spoofed SRC IP’s of the victim, which means all the replies will go to (and flood) the target.
  • -Stateful inspection in the DNS area is limited. Was in smartdefense at CP, but how many people use it?-The server is forced to respond with ICMP packets “Destination Unreachable” (ICMP type3 Code 3) for port closed when udp packet arrives.-Returning ICMP type 3 further saturate (Packet size in return will be close to received packet).
  • -Internal data.
  • -The SYN flood attack simply sends a high rate of SYN’s with spoofed IP’s and the server is left waiting for the ACK.-This means the attacker needs much fewer hosts to exhaust target machine because no session is actually kept alive on the “Attackers” side.-You exhaust the Backlog of the TCP stack (Linux default is 3mins and Win2k is 45 sec. for half open timeouts, these can be changed). So the server can no longer accept a new connection.-
  • -Another reported attack technique that was allegedly used during this campaign is a custom version of the Mobile LOIC tool (aka Mobile LOIC - Apache Killer) which is designed to exploit a known vulnerability in Apache servers – corresponding to CVE-2011-3192.-This attack tool targets Apache servers using Apache HTTP server versions 1.3.x, 2.0.x through 2.0.64, and 2.2.x through 2.2.19.
  • Target URL- Specifies the URL of the attacked target. Must start with http://. Requests per second-Specifies the number of desired requests to be sent per second. Append message-Specifies the content for the “msg” parameter to be sent within the URL of HTTP requests
  • Resource internal.
  • -This value is unique since it seems to contain a typo which is caused by placing the “User Agent:” string inside the user agent value itself.Resource internal.
  • Internal resources.
  • Resource internal.
  • Trend toward assymetricatacks with obvious reason. The attacker is required to utilize few resources while exhausting the target by sending small requests which result in large and or cpu intensive replies.
  • Identification: referrer (ask the audience)Iframe attack can be used to amplify a DDoS any site. For example, using the attack LOIC iframe (JavaScript) to amplify the attack.
  • RUDY or ARE YOU DEAD YET exploits the HTTP POST method by sending POST with long form field submission. It injects one byte of data then waiting causes application threads to await for never ending posts to perform processing.
  • Slowloris sends very slow HTTP Requests. The HTTP headers ares sent in tiny chunks as slowly as possible while the server si forced to wait for the headers to arrive. This causes many connections to be built up on the target server. Slowloris is cross platform, except for Windows due to a socket limitation (~130). Pyloris was developed to enable running on windows with a Python GUI).

In the Line of Fire - The Morphology of Cyber-Attacks In the Line of Fire - The Morphology of Cyber-Attacks Presentation Transcript

  • Slide 1 In the Line of Fire – the Morphology of Cyber-Attacks Dennis Usle Security Solutions Architect
  • AGENDA Availability-based threats Attacks on the US banks Other popular attack patterns & trends
  • 2001 20102005 Attack Risk Time © 2011, Radware, Ltd. Blaster 2003 CodeRed 2001 Nimda (Installed Trojan) 2001 Slammer (Attacking SQL sites) 2003 Vandalism and Publicity Storm (Botnet) 2007 Agobot (DoS Botnet) Srizbi (Botnet) 2007Rustock (Botnet) 2007 Kracken (Botnet) 2009 2010 IMDDOS (Botnet) Financially Motivated Mar 2011 DDoS Blending Motives Mar 2011 Codero DDoS / Twitter Google / Twitter Attacks2009 Republican website DoS 2004 Estonia’s Web Sites DoS 2007 Georgia Web sites DoS 2008 July 2009 Cyber Attacks US & Korea Dec 2010 Operation Payback Mar 2011 Netbot DDoS Mar 2011 Operation Payback II “Hacktivism” LulzSec Sony, CIA, FBI Peru, Chile Attacker’s Change in Motivation & Techniques “Worms” DDoS “Blend” 3
  • The Security Trinity Integrity Availability Confidentiality Security Confidentiality, a mainstream adaptation of the “need to know” principle of the military ethic, restricts the access of information to those systems, processes and recipients from which the content was intended to be exposed. Security Integrity in its broadest meaning refers to the trustworthiness of information over its entire life cycle. Security Availability is a characteristic that distinguishes information objects that have signaling and self-sustaining processes from those that do not, either because such functions have ceased (outage, an attack), or else because they lack such functions .
  • Availability Based Attacks Slide 5 Availability- based Threats Network Floods (Volumetric) Application Floods Low-and-Slow Single-packet DoS
  • 2012 Attack Motivation - ERT Survey Slide 6Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Radware ERT Survey Slide 7Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • 2012 Target Trend - ERT Survey Slide 8Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Attacks Campaigns Duration Slide 9Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Attack Duration Requires IT to Develop New Skills War Room Skills Are Required Slide 10Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Main Bottlenecks During DoS Attacks - ERT Survey Slide 11Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Attacks Traverse CDNs (Dynamic Object Attacks) Slide 12Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • AGENDA 2012 Availability-based threats Attacks on the US banks Other popular attack patterns & trends
  • Overview • What triggered the recent US attacks? • Who was involved in implementing the attacks and name of the operation? • How long were the attacks and how many attack vectors were involved? • How the attacks work and their effects. • How can we prepare ourselves in the future? Slide 14Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • What triggered the attacks on the US banks? • Nakoula Basseley Nakoula (Alias- “Sam Bacile”), an Egyptian born US resident created an anti-Islamic film. • Early September the publication of the „Innocence of Muslims‟ film on YouTube invokes demonstrations throughout the Muslim world. • The video was 14 minutes though a full length movie was released. Slide 15Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Protests Generated by the Movie Slide 16Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • The Cyber Response Slide 17Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Who is the group behind the cyber response? • A hacker group called “Izz as-Din al-Qassam Cyber fighters”. • Izz as-Din al-Qassam was a famous Muslim preacher who was a leader in the fight against the French, US and Zionist in the 1920‟s and 1930‟s. • The group claims not to be affiliated to any government or Anonymous. • This group claims to be independent, and it‟s goal is to defend Islam. Slide 18Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Operation Ababil launched! • “Operation Ababil” is the codename of the operation launched on September 18th 2012, by the group Izz as-Din al-Qassam Cyber fighters • The attackers announced they would attack “American and Zionist targets.” • “Ababil” translates to “Swallow” from Persian. Until today the US thinks the Iranian government may be behind the operation. • The goal of the operation is to have YouTube remove the anti-Islamic film from its site. Until today the video has not been removed. Slide 19Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • The Attack Vectors and Tactics! Slide 20
  • Initial attack campaign in 2 phases • The attack campaign was split into 2 phases, a pubic announcement was made in each phase. • The attacks lasted 10 days, from the 18th until the 28th of September. • Phase 1 - Targets > NYSE, BOA, JP Morgan. • Phase 2 – Targets > Wells Fargo, US Banks, PNC. • Phase 3 - Targets > PNC, Fifth Third Bancorp, J.M.Chase, U.S.Bank, UnionBank, Bank of America, Citibank, BB&T and Capitalone. Slide 21Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Attack Vectors • 5 Attack vectors were seen by the ERT team during Operation Ababil. 1. UDP garbage flood. 2. TCP SYN flood. 3. Mobile LOIC (Apache killer version.) 4. HTTP Request flood. 5. ICMP Reply flood. (*Unconfirmed but reported on.) 6. Booters. *Note: Data is gathered by Radware as well as it‟s partners. Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Booters Slide 23 A Booter is a tool used for taking down/booting off websites and servers. Booters introduce high volumetric (server based) attacks and slow-rate attack vectors as a one stop shop.
  • UDP Garbage Flood • Targeted the DNS servers of the organizations, also HTTP. • 1Gb + in volume. • All attacks were identical in content and in size (Packet structure). • UDP packets sent to port 53 and 80. • Customers attacked Sep 18th and on the 19th. Slide 24Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Tactics used in the UDP Garbage Flood • Internal DNS servers were targeted , at a high rate. • Web servers were also targeted, at a high rate. • Spoofed IP‟s (But kept to just a few, this is unusual.) • ~ 1Gbps. • Lasted more than 7 hours initially but still continues... Packet structure Slide 25 Parameter Value Port 53 Value Port 80 Packet size 1358 Bytes Unknown Value in Garbage ‘A’ (0x41) characters repeated “/http1” (x2fx68x74x74x70x 31) - repetitive Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • DNS Garbage Flood packet extract • Some reports of a DNS reflective attack was underway seem to be incorrect. • The packets are considered “Malformed” DNS packets, no relevant DNS header. Slide 26Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Attackers objective of the UDP Garbage Flood • Saturate bandwidth. • Attack will pass through firewall, since port is open. • Saturate session tables/CPU resources on any state -full device, L4 routing rules any router, FW session tables etc. • Returning ICMP type 3 further saturate upstream bandwidth. • All combined will lead to a DoS situation if bandwidth and infrastructure cannot handle the volume or packet processing. Slide 27Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • TCP SYN Flood • Targeted Port 53, 80 and 443. • The rate was around 100Mbps with around 135K PPS. • This lasted for more than 3 days. Slide 28Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • SYN Flood Packet extract Slide 29 -All sources are spoofed. -Multiple SYN packets to port 443. Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Attackers objective of the TCP SYN Floods • SYN floods are a well known attack vector. • Can be used to distract from more targeted attacks. • The effect of the SYN flood if it slips through can devastate state-full devices quickly. This is done by filling up the session table. • All state-full device has some performance impact under such a flood. • Easy to implement. • Incorrect network architecture will quickly have issues. Slide 30Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Mobile LOIC (Apache killer version) • Mobile LOIC (Low Orbit Iron Cannon) is a DDoS tool written in HTML and Javascript. • This DDoS Tool does an HTTP GET flood. • The tool is designed to do HTTP floods. • We have no statistics on the exact traffic of mobile LOIC. Slide 31 *Suspected*Suspected Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Mobile LOIC in a web browser Slide 32Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • HTTP Request Flood • Between 80K and 100K TPS (Transactions Per second.) • Port 80. • Followed the same patterns in the GET request (Except for the Input parameter.) • Dynamic user agent. Slide 33Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • HTTP flood packet structure • Sources worldwide (True sources most likely hidden.) • User agent duplicated. • Dynamic Input parameters. GET Requests parameters Slide 34Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Attackers objective of the HTTP flood • Bypass CDN services by randomizing the input parameter and user agents. • Because of the double user agent there was an flaw in the programming behind the attacking tool. • Saturating and exhausting web server resources by keeping session table and web server connection limits occupied. • The attack takes more resources to implement than non connection orientated attacks like TCP SYN floods and UDP garbage floods. This is because of the need to establish a connection. Slide 35Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Identified locations of attacking IPs Slide 36 Worldwide! Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • AGENDA 2012 Availability-based threats Attacks on the us banks Others 2012 popular attack patterns & trends
  • Availability-based Threats Tree Slide 38 Availability- based Threats Network Floods (Volumetric) Application Floods Low-and-Slow Single-packet DoS UPD Flood ICMP Flood SYN Flood Web Flood DNS SMTP HTTPS Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Asymmetric Attacks Slide 39Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • HTTP Reflection Attack Slide Website A Website B (Victim) Attacker HTTP GET Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Slide iframe, width=1, height=1 search.php HTTP Reflection Attack Example Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • HTTPS – SSL Re Negotiation Attack Slide 42 THC-SSL DoS THC-SSL DOS was developed by a hacking group called The Hacker‟s Choice (THC), as a proof- of-concept to encourage vendors to patch a serious SSL vulnerability. THC-SSL-DOS, as with other “low and slow” attacks, requires only a small number of packets to cause denial-of-service for a fairly large server. It works by initiating a regular SSL handshake and then immediately requesting for the renegotiation of the encryption key, constantly repeating this server resource-intensive renegotiation request until all server resources have been exhausted. Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Low & Slow Slide 43 Availability- based Threats Network Floods (Volumetric) Application Floods Low-and-Slow Single-packet DoS UPD Flood ICMP Flood SYN Flood Web Flood DNS SMTP HTTPS Low-and-Slow Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Low & Slow • Slowloris • Sockstress • R.U.D.Y. • Simultaneous Connection Saturation Slide 44Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • R.U.D.Y (R-U-Dead-Yet) Slide 45 R.U.D.Y. (R-U-Dead-Yet?) R.U.D.Y. (R-U-Dead-Yet?) is a slow-rate HTTP POST (Layer 7) denial-of-service tool created by Raviv Raz and named after the Children of Bodom album “Are You Dead Yet?” It achieves denial-of-service by using long form field submissions. By injecting one byte of information into an application POST field at a time and then waiting, R.U.D.Y. causes application threads to await the end of never-ending posts in order to perform processing (this behavior is necessary in order to allow web servers to support users with slower connections). Since R.U.D.Y. causes the target webserver to hang while waiting for the rest of an HTTP POST request, by initiating simultaneous connections to the server the attacker is ultimately able to exhaust the server‟s connection table and create a denial-of-service condition. Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Slowloris Slide 46 Slowloris Slowloris is a denial-of-service (DoS) tool developed by the grey hat hacker “RSnake” that causes DoS by using a very slow HTTP request. By sending HTTP headers to the target site in tiny chunks as slow as possible (waiting to send the next tiny chunk until just before the server would time out the request), the server is forced to continue to wait for the headers to arrive. If enough connections are opened to the server in this fashion, it is quickly unable to handle legitimate requests. Slowloris is cross-platform, except due to Windows’ ~130 simultaneous socket use limit, it is only effective from UNIX-based systems which allow for more connections to be opened in parallel to a target server (although a GUI Python version of Slowloris dubbed PyLoris was able to overcome this limiting factor on Windows). Radware Confidential Jan 2012
  • Radware Security Products Portfolio Slide 47 AppWall Web Application Firewall (WAF) DefensePro Network & Server attack prevention device APSolute Vision Management and security reporting & compliance
  • Thank You Radware Confidential Jan 2012