New Hacker Weapon Surfaces

Monday, October 29, 2012 @ 12:10 PM gHale

A High Orbit Ion Cannon (HOIC) could just broaden the possibilities for attackers of all skill sets.

The High Orbit Ion Cannon is a dangerous free-to-download, open-source program that can turn any user of any skill level into a powerful hacker, at least in terms of one form of attack, a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS).

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It is extremely easy to use. All the attacker has to do is type in the URL of the target, set the HOIC to operate in supercharged or normal mode, and then fire the laser. The program sends traffic to that URL in an attempt to overload the site and bring it down. There is a YouTube video available that show how quickly and effortless an attack could be.

The HOIC is actually an upgrade of an older program, the Low Orbit Ion Cannon, which is a favorite tool of Anonymous and other hacker groups. But the HOIC, which has been around for a little while and is gaining popularity among hackers, is much more powerful.

The HOIC is able to use custom scripts to target more than just a website’s home page. Instead of sending out a single pulse over and over, which is a visit to the site from a fake user, the HOIC can target sub-pages. So these spawned, fake users try to visit the welcome page, the help pages, article pages and anything else a victim site has to offer.

This tactic prevents some firewalls from recognizing what is happening is an attack. Even if they do detect what’s happening, they will have trouble shutting them down because the “supercharged” version of the software is sending multiple fake users to multiple pages within a domain. It’s like trying to block shotgun pellets instead of a single bullet.

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