Blackhats Stealing Whitehat Tools

Friday, September 21, 2012 @ 03:09 PM gHale

Hacktivists are starting to take tools designed for testing server and network defenses and use them to launch denial-of-service attacks on websites.

There is an increase in hitting web apps and the HTTP server software running it, rather than simply flooding the underlying stack with bogus traffic to exhaust resources and bandwidth, according to Imperva’s Hacker Intelligence report.

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This type of attack may go toward specific web servers such as IIS or Apache, or to specific applications, such as SharePoint, which is Microsoft’s content management server software.

The latest and most popular distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) tools include LOIC, SlowHTTPTest and railgun. The use of the latter two whitehat tools shows how hackers have begun running attacks that utilize whitehat testing tools. Attacks analyzed by Imperva include network assaults by hacktivists in Bahrain, Colombia and Russia as well as web attacks against businesses linked to DDoS-for-hire scams. DDoS attacks typically run from botnet networks of compromised computers.

In many cases the distinct signature of each weapon can create effective filtering rules.

“Denial-of-service is a primitive, yet popular attack vector, for politically and profit-motivated hackers,” said Tal Be’ery, a senior web researcher at Imperva. “DDoS can gridlock enterprise resources to a halt, just like traffic on the highway, but organizations can mitigate these effects by learning how to identify and protect against malicious traffic.”

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