Welcome!

Blog Feed Post

F5 Threat Analysis: It's a mad, mad, mad, mad ... bot

Madness. It's an aptly named bot, as it's likely to evoke just that reaction in those who find it lurking in their systems or at whom its sets it sights.

confidence-app-layer-attack

A disturbing trend illustrated by the focus of our latest threat analysis is the increase in attention being paid to application layer attacks. Not just directly, but also as part of larger volumetric attacks. Increasingly application layer attacks are seen as part of a larger attack that takes advantage of volumetric network DDoS techniques as a "smokescreen" to hide their real intent. A 2014 Neustar report found that 55% of DDoS attack victims experienced application layer attacks at the same time that successfully deposited malware (over 50%) or exfiltrated customer data (26% of victims). While the focus of our analysis today, Madness, appears to be solely concerned with Denial of Service and not intended or capable of perpetrating attacks designed to exfiltrate or corrupt customer or corporate data, its increasing capabilities at layer 7 are indicative of a general trend toward attacks on applications rather than the network. 

That's the  bad news.

The good news is that organizations overwhelming feel confident in their ability to withstand such attacks; our State of Application Delivery 2015 survey found that 92% of customers were confident to very confident they were ready and able to handle such attacks. Given that a majority protect all three attack surfaces "all the time", this confidence is likely warranted.

But as complacency is as dangerous to security as complexity, it's always a good idea to know thine enemy - particularly with respect to what weapons their arsenals contain.

With that proverbial advice in mind, let's get a quick look at Madness, shall we?

 

threat-analysis-madnessMadness is, according to its authors, a superior successor to notorious DDoS malware families “BlackEnergy”, “gbot”, “DirtJumper”, “Darkness Optima”, “iBot” and “w3Bot”. 

Though the bot employs standard persistency techniques its attacks show an increasing level of sophistication. In terms of the former it employs a fairly traditional Marco Polo technique of constantly polling for the existence of specific registry keys that, if found to be missing, will be added again. 

On the attack front, however, Madness displays a growing awareness of the richer attack surfaces at layer 7 (application). While supporting traditional network-based DoS capabilities, Madness also offers a number of application layer attacks with growing detection evasion options. Madness' HTTP flood options can be categorized into low-level and high-level attacks. Low-level attacks allow the attacker to control all aspects of the HTTP request. By enabling complete control over the request, attackers can better construct requests that can bypass many DDoS protection mechanisms. Higher-level attacks provide automatic handling of all protocol level concerns such as request construction, TCP connection management, caching, cookies and even redirections. 

Madness adds an interest twist to traditional HTTP GET flood attack by adding a slight delay in between the initial GET request and the completion of the request as indicated by the standard carriage return-line feed combination ("\r\n").  As this version of the attack does not include many of the traditional HTTP request headers - it comprises only the Host header - attacks from Madness using this attack should be fairly easy to detect.

 

Our Security Research Team, which is dedicated to performing research of DDoS, web, mobile and malware threats, has put together a comprehensive analysis of Madness. You can get the full report here, which includes details on:

  1. Persistency techniques
  2. C&C methods
  3. Attack types and capabilities
  4. Mitigation guidance

They've also penned a technical blog detailing their analysis.

Stay safe out there!

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

Latest Stories
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
Having been in the web hosting industry since 2002, dhosting has gained a great deal of experience while working on a wide range of projects. This experience has enabled the company to develop our amazing new product, which they are now excited to present! Among dHosting's greatest achievements, they can include the development of their own hosting panel, the building of their fully redundant server system, and the creation of dhHosting's unique product, Dynamic Edge.
This session will provide an introduction to Cloud driven quality and transformation and highlight the key features that comprise it. A perspective on the cloud transformation lifecycle, transformation levers, and transformation framework will be shared. At Cognizant, we have developed a transformation strategy to enable the migration of business critical workloads to cloud environments. The strategy encompasses a set of transformation levers across the cloud transformation lifecycle to enhance ...
Your job is mostly boring. Many of the IT operations tasks you perform on a day-to-day basis are repetitive and dull. Utilizing automation can improve your work life, automating away the drudgery and embracing the passion for technology that got you started in the first place. In this presentation, I'll talk about what automation is, and how to approach implementing it in the context of IT Operations. Ned will discuss keys to success in the long term and include practical real-world examples. Ge...
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
So the dumpster is on fire. Again. The site's down. Your boss's face is an ever-deepening purple. And you begin debating whether you should join the #incident channel or call an ambulance to deal with his impending stroke. Yes, we know this is a developer's fault. There's plenty of time for blame later. Postmortems have a macabre name because they were once intended to be Viking-like funerals for someone's job. But we're civilized now. Sort of. So we call them post-incident reviews. Fires are ne...
Lori MacVittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for outbound evangelism across F5's entire product suite. MacVittie has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organizations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine where she evaluated and tested application-focused technologies including app secu...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 12-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI and Machine Learning to one location.
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
ICC is a computer systems integrator and server manufacturing company focused on developing products and product appliances to meet a wide range of computational needs for many industries. Their solutions provide benefits across many environments, such as datacenter deployment, HPC, workstations, storage networks and standalone server installations. ICC has been in business for over 23 years and their phenomenal range of clients include multinational corporations, universities, and small busines...
This sixteen (16) hour course provides an introduction to DevOps, the cultural and professional movement that stresses communication, collaboration, integration and automation in order to improve the flow of work between software developers and IT operations professionals. Improved workflows will result in an improved ability to design, develop, deploy and operate software and services faster.
Headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, Synametrics Technologies has provided IT professionals and computer systems developers since 1997. Based on the success of their initial product offerings (WinSQL and DeltaCopy), the company continues to create and hone innovative products that help its customers get more from their computer applications, databases and infrastructure. To date, over one million users around the world have chosen Synametrics solutions to help power their accelerated business or per...
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
Authorization of web applications developed in the cloud is a fundamental problem for security, yet companies often build solutions from scratch, which is error prone and impedes time to market. This talk shows developers how they can (instead) build on-top of community-owned projects and frameworks for better security.Whether you build software for enterprises, mobile, or internal microservices, security is important. Standards like SAML, OIDC, and SPIFFE help you solve identity and authenticat...
The digital transformation is real! To adapt, IT professionals need to transform their own skillset to become more multi-dimensional by gaining both depth and breadth of a wide variety of knowledge and competencies. Historically, while IT has been built on a foundation of specialty (or "I" shaped) silos, the DevOps principle of "shifting left" is opening up opportunities for developers, operational staff, security and others to grow their skills portfolio, advance their careers and become "T"-sh...