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September 26, 2016

Renowned blog KrebsOnSecurity hit with massive DDoS attack

The 620 Gbps DDoS attack on KrebsOnSecurity was built on a massive botnet.

By Alexander Sword

The security blog KrebsOnSecurity has been hit with one of the largest distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks of all time.

The site, which is run by security expert Brian Krebs, was hit by a DDoS attack of around 620 Gbps on 20 September.

KrebsOnSecurity managed to stay online during the attack, due to defences from content delivery network provider Akamai.

The largest attack of this kind Akamai had previously defended was one of 336 Gbps earlier this year.

Previous large-scale DDoS attacks, including the 336 Gbps attack, used well-known methods to amplify a smaller attack such as using unmanaged DNS servers.

Apart from being much larger in terms of scale, the attack on KrebsOnSecurity also differed in that it seemed to instead use a very large botnet of hacked devices. This could have involved hundreds of thousands of systems.

“Someone has a botnet with capabilities we haven’t seen before,” Martin McKeay, Akamai’s senior security advocate, said to KrebsOnSecurity. “We looked at the traffic coming from the attacking systems, and they weren’t just from one region of the world or from a small subset of networks — they were everywhere.”

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Brian Krebs said that there were some signs that the attack had used a botnet that had captured a large number of Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

During a DDoS attack, the targeted website is flooded with traffic, designed to overwhelm the resources of the site to crash or suspend its services.

“It seems likely that we can expect such monster attacks to soon become the new norm,” wrote Krebs.

He suggested that the attack on his site might have been in retaliation for a series he had done on the takedown of a DDoS-for-hire service vDOS, a theory supported by text included in the strings of the DDoS attack referencing the vDOS owners.

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