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Akamai, Amazon Mitigate Massive DDoS Attacks

The first week of June 2020 arrived with a massive 1.44 TBPS (terabytes per second) distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, Akamai reveals.

Lasting for two hours and peaking at 385 MPPS (million packets per second), the assault was the largest Akamai has even seen in terms of BPS, but also stood out from the crowd because of its complexity.

The first week of June 2020 arrived with a massive 1.44 TBPS (terabytes per second) distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, Akamai reveals.

Lasting for two hours and peaking at 385 MPPS (million packets per second), the assault was the largest Akamai has even seen in terms of BPS, but also stood out from the crowd because of its complexity.

Aimed at an Internet hosting provider (which Akamai would not name), the attack appears to have been a planned and orchestrated effort. The intent, the company says, was to inflict maximum damage.

While typical DDoS attacks show geographically concentrated traffic, this assault was different, with the traffic being globally distributed. However, “a higher percentage of the attack traffic was sourced in Europe,” Roger Barranco, Akamai VP of Global Security Operations, told SecurityWeek.

The geographic distribution of the attack traffic, Barranco says, surpasses that of Internet of Things (IoT) botnet Mirai, which “had some continental and geographic distribution, but not to this extent.”

Nine different attack vectors were used in this attack, namely ACK Flood, CLDAP Reflection, NTP FLOOD, RESET Flood, SSDP Flood, SYN Flood, TCP Anomaly, UDP Flood, and UDP Fragment. Furthermore, Akamai noticed multiple botnet attack tools being leveraged.

Since the attack is still under investigation, Barranco wouldn’t share details on who might have been behind the operation or the type of devices employed.

Most of the DDoS attacks observed over the past several quarters were smaller ones, recent reports from Cloudflare and Amazon show.

“From Q2 2018 to Q4 2019, the largest attacks observed on AWS were less than 1 TBPS,” Amazon says. “The 99thpercentile event in Q1 2020 was 43 GBPS [gigabyte per second].”

That, however, does not mean that larger incidents such as those that peaked at 1.7 TBPS and 1.3 TBPS in 2018 are gone forever.

In fact, Amazon reveals that, in February this year, it mitigated a 2.3 TBPS DDoS attack. Mainly relying on CLDAP reflection (a known UDP reflection vector), the attack reached 293 MPPS and caused “3 days of elevated threat during a single week in February 2020 before subsiding.”

Barranco pointed out that “there is a strong potential for a much larger attack,” noting that CLDAP made up around 13% of Akamai’s 1.44 TBPS attack.

“Imagine launching 2.3Tbps of CLDAP and throwing in several other vectors on top,” he said.

“DDoS attacks are a constant threat for organizations and security bugs and flaws within software can be exploited to amplify these attacks,” Jack Mannino, CEO at nVisium, commented for SecurityWeek. “As botnets continue to exploit issues within networking products and IoT devices exposed to the internet, the risks of DDoS attacks will persist. Even with services to absorb the heavy blows dealt by high volume DDoS attacks, organizations often find that systems behave in unexpected ways under extreme load.”

Related: T-Mobile Outage Mistaken for Massive DDoS Attack on U.S.

Related: NXNSAttack: New DNS Vulnerability Allows Big DDoS Attacks

Related: Attackers Use CoAP for DDoS Amplification

Written By

Ionut Arghire is an international correspondent for SecurityWeek.

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