Vulnerabilities / Threats

4/25/2018
01:06 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
LinkedIn
Google+
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

'Webstresser' DDoS Attack Site Shut Down in International Operation

Investigators arrested the admins of Webstresser, the world's largest DDoS marketplace reportedly responsible for more than four million attacks.

The world's largest online marketplace for selling and lauching distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks was shut down this week as part of Operation Power Off, an international investigation into the so-called Webstresser.org site. The effort was led by the UK National Crime Agency (NCA) and Dutch National Police, with support from Europol and a dozen global law enforcement agencies, Europol reports.

Webstresser had more than 136,000 registered users, and threat actors have reportedly used it to launch at least four million cyberattacks, targeting government agencies, banks, police organizations, and victims in the gaming sector by flooding their servers with traffic, according to Europol.

The site simplified the process of launching DDoS attacks, once a threat mostly accessible to tech-savvy cybercriminals. Anybody, regardless of their technical skill level, could use Webstresser's online payment system or cryptocurrency to rent out stressers or booters, which were available for as little as 15 EUR/month and could be used for destructive DDoS attacks.

Stressers and booters are for-hire services that grant access to DDoS botnets. Most aim to make money under the pretense of offering a legitimate, useful service to test servers' resiliency. In reality, they usually don't require proof of identity from the individual launching the attack, nor do they ask whether the attacker is associated with the organization being targeted.

"As this event illustrates, it remains ridiculously cheap to rent a devastating DDoS attack from these so-called DDoS 'stressers' or on the Dark Web," says Andrew Lloyd, president of Corero Network Security. "In many territories, it also remains a criminal offence."

Authorities in five countries, including Canada, Croatia, Serbia, and the Netherlands, along with support from Europol and Police Scotland, arrested six suspected members of the group behind Webstresser on April 24. Dutch Police, with support from Germany and the US, seized servers and started the takedown of the site on the morning of April 25.

Europol's European Cybercrime Centre (EC3) and the Joint Cybercrime Action Taskforce (J-CAT) provided support for the investigation by enabling an information exchange among all participating organizations. On the day of the takedown, a command and coordination post was set up at Europol HQ. Europol reports measures were also taken against Webstresser's top users in the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Croatia, the UK, Australia, Canada, and Hong Kong.

NCA officials believe an attacker linked to an address in Bradford, UK, used Webstresser to target seven of the UK's largest banks in November 2017. The banks were forced to scale back their operations and, in some cases, shut down entire systems, costing hundreds of thousands of pounds in recovery. The address was identified and searched as part of this effort.

John Fokker, McAfee's head of cyber investigations, notes how Webstresser points to the overall rise of attacks on the gaming sector, which is increasingly targeted as attacks become easier to launch. He also suggests a threat like this could have geopolitical implications.

"Attacks on gaming servers predominately committed by young people are becoming increasingly popular and the relative ease with which these attacks are carried out by individuals with little hacking experience is striking," he says. "Webstresser and other similar attacks suggest entire organizations or parts of a country can be disrupted for the price of a pound of good coffee beans."

Jo Goodall, senior investigating officer at the NCA, urged businesses and individuals to report cybercrime. In a statement, she points to the Action Fraud website, the UK's national fraud and cybercrime reporting center. Guidance on how to mitigate the effects of cyberattacks can be found at the National Cyber Security Centre website.

Related Content:

Interop ITX 2018

Join Dark Reading LIVE for a two-day Cybersecurity Crash Course at Interop ITX. Learn from the industry’s most knowledgeable IT security experts. Check out the agenda here. Register with Promo Code DR200 and save $200.

Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial ... View Full Bio

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Microsoft President: Governments Must Cooperate on Cybersecurity
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  11/8/2018
5 Reasons Why Threat Intelligence Doesn't Work
Jonathan Zhang, CEO/Founder of WhoisXML API and TIP,  11/7/2018
Why Password Management and Security Strategies Fall Short
Steve Zurier, Freelance Writer,  11/7/2018
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon
Current Issue
Flash Poll
Online Malware and Threats: A Profile of Today's Security Posture
Online Malware and Threats: A Profile of Today's Security Posture
This report offers insight on how security professionals plan to invest in cybersecurity, and how they are prioritizing their resources. Find out what your peers have planned today!
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2018-6980
PUBLISHED: 2018-11-13
VVMware vRealize Log Insight (4.7.x before 4.7.1 and 4.6.x before 4.6.2) contains a vulnerability due to improper authorization in the user registration method. Successful exploitation of this issue may allow Admin users with view only permission to perform certain administrative functions which the...
CVE-2018-17614
PUBLISHED: 2018-11-13
This vulnerability allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code on vulnerable installations of Losant Arduino MQTT Client prior to V2.7. User interaction is not required to exploit this vulnerability. The specific flaw exists within the parsing of MQTT PUBLISH packets. The issue results from th...
CVE-2018-8009
PUBLISHED: 2018-11-13
Apache Hadoop 3.1.0, 3.0.0-alpha to 3.0.2, 2.9.0 to 2.9.1, 2.8.0 to 2.8.4, 2.0.0-alpha to 2.7.6, 0.23.0 to 0.23.11 is exploitable via the zip slip vulnerability in places that accept a zip file.
CVE-2018-2491
PUBLISHED: 2018-11-13
When opening a deep link URL in SAP Fiori Client with log level set to "Debug", the client application logs the URL to the log file. If this URL contains malicious JavaScript code it can eventually run inside the built-in log viewer of the application in case user opens the viewer and taps...
CVE-2018-2473
PUBLISHED: 2018-11-13
SAP BusinessObjects Business Intelligence Platform Server, versions 4.1 and 4.2, when using Web Intelligence Richclient 3 tiers mode gateway allows an attacker to prevent legitimate users from accessing a service, either by crashing or flooding the service.