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The Rise of the DDoS Attacks and the Abuse of the WS-Discovery Protocol

Clever new DDoS attack gets a lot of bang for a hacker's buck

A new type of attack that feeds on vulnerabilities in the usage of the Web Services Dynamic Discovery protocol has been discovered recently by analysts from Akamai's DDoS mitigation service Prolexic.

The attackers here are said to have had used a moderately new strategy—one that can possibly yield more than 15,000 per cent rate of return for the junk data it heaves at a victim.

Since WS-Disclosure provides devices on a similar network a chance to communicate, and guides them all to ping one area or address with insights concerning themselves, attackers can control WS-Discovery by sending uniquely crafted pernicious protocol requests to vulnerable devices like CCTV cameras and DVRs, which is extremely simple for them to do as WS-Discovery is intended to be utilized internally on local access networks and Akamai gauges that approximately 800,000 gadgets exposed on the web can receive WS-Discovery commands.

“There's a huge pool of vulnerable devices sitting out there waiting to be abused” says Chad Sailor, senior specialist on Akamai's security insight reaction group.

"DDoS attacks abusing the WS-Discovery protocol have increased," says security researcher Troy Mursch.
 "The notable thing here is the amount of vulnerable hosts that can be abused and the large amplification factor that enables crippling attacks."

Video game platforms are the most well-known targets for DDoS attacks, during the beginning of September, for instance, Blizzard's hugely famous World of Warcraft Classic went down sporadically for a considerable length of time as a result of a DDoS attack.

"With gaming, they are one of our most frequently attacked industries," Akamai's Seaman says. "We have a handful of different gaming customers that we protect and we basically see the full gamut of all the different attack vectors and exploratory attacks through them. So it’s not surprising to see them being the first ones being targeted with a new vector."

In any case the dread about WS-Discovery DDoS attacks, however, is that the gaming industry won't be the last target as the researchers caution once more that the industries should be prepared for greater versions in the future.


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