Friday, January 6, 2012

New Denial of Service Attack Takes Its Time on Your Server

DeniedOn Thursday a researcher published a proof-of-concept code that takes a new look on the slow HTTP Denial-of-Service (DoS) attack by simply dragging out the whole process of reading the server's response and, eventually, overwhelming it. Senior Software Engineer at Qualys Sergey Shekyan also added this modified Denial-of-Service attack, which he dubs a Slow Read attack, to his Slowhttptest tool.

As far as the attack goes, Slow Read basically sends a legitimate HTTP request and then takes an excruciatingly long time reading the response. By doing so, the Slow Read attack keeps as many open connections as possible and eventually causes a Denial-of-Service attack.

The Slowhttptest attack tool developed by Shekyan was inspired by related open-source tools Slowloris and OWASP's Slow HTTP Post. Slowloris keeps connections open by sending partial HTTP requests and then sends headers at regular intervals in order to prevent the sockets from closing.

OWASP's Slow HTTP Post Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) tool simulates an attack using POST headers that have a legitimate content-length field. This allows a web server to know just how much data is arriving. Once the headers are delivered, the POST message body is transmitted slowly and gridlocks the connection, as well as the server resources.

Slow HTTP attacks are becoming increasingly more popular, especially among hackers, as a way to quietly insert a Denial-of-Service attack due to the fact that these hacks are relatively simple to perform, require minimal computing resources and are often hard to detect until it is too late.

Source: InformationWeek - New Denial of Service Attack Cripples Servers Slowly

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