[Ndn-interest] Largest DDoS attack ever delivered by botnet of hijacked IoT devices

Christos Papadopoulos christos at colostate.edu
Tue Sep 27 07:30:38 PDT 2016

Hi Gene,

On 09/26/2016 11:31 PM, GTS wrote:
> Hi Christos,
> indeed, there's (expected) equilibrium in CCN.
> A PIT overflow implies failure of this equilibrium. However, an attack 
> is not the
> only potential cause for a PIT overflow, right? Telling the difference 
> seems very hard.

I agree that it is very hard to determine intent  - is it a malicious 
act or a flash crowd? But is making that distinction important? The 
network should defend itself either way.

But we are diverging. The point is that NDN is a communication process 
that does not make a distinction between network infrastructure and 
applications as IP does. When communication fails it is visible to the 
entire communication chain (because the equilibrium fails).

> Coming back to the specific large-scale DoS issue, you originally 
> cited the recent attack where
> IP-enabled IoT devices acted as attack sources (zombies). I claim this 
> is possible in CCN
> if malware gets in before deployment; in that case, a CCN-enabled IoT 
> device can become a
> DoS *source*.
> The real difference I see is this:  a CCN-enabled IoT device that 
> never publishes anything (e.g., a pure actuator)
> can not be a DoS *target*.

Yup, if you do not attract any Interests (you are purely a consumer) 
then you cannot be attacked.


> Cheers,
> Gene
> ======================
> Gene Tsudik
> Chancellor's Professor of Computer Science
> University of California, Irvine
> On 9/26/16 8:36 PM, Christos Papadopoulos wrote:
>> Hi Gene,
>> In NDN, with symmetric traffic and the PIT state, there is an 
>> equilibrium imposed (an Interest must be followed by a response) and 
>> more importantly, can be verified (expired or overflowed PIT state 
>> means failure of the equilibrium).
>> The point is there is a signal available in NDN (failure in the 
>> equilibrium) that is not available in IP. There are very interesting 
>> research questions about how to use this signal.
>> IP tried to do something similar with pushback. One problem with it 
>> was the coordination required between the routers to make pushback 
>> effective. Imagine for example, how hard it would be to coordinate at 
>> the interdomain level. In NDN a disturbance in the equilibrium can be 
>> detected locally.
>> Christos.
>> On 09/26/2016 02:34 PM, GTS wrote:
>>> I generally agree with Cedric. In CCN (i.e., NDN & CCNx), the 
>>> so-called "attack surface"
>>> will change shape but it's area will remain almost the same. In 
>>> particular, attacks
>>> such as the one Christos mentions, where IoT devices act as 
>>> mini-zombies (DoS attack sources),
>>> are unfortunately still possible. Just not in the same way...
>>> One notable item in the shifting attack surface is this: in CCN, an 
>>> end-entity (e.g., an IoT
>>> device) that only acts as a consumer (never produces anything), can 
>>> not be DoS-attacked
>>> in the usual manner, since the only way it can be "reached" is by 
>>> content that *it*
>>> has actually requested. In IP, that's certainly not the case.
>>> But, if an end-entity can request content, it can in principle be 
>>> infected by malware.^$
>>> Thus, it can still be turned into a mini-zombie. :-)
>>> Cheers,
>>> Gene
>>> $ Or, it can be infected prior to being put in service.
>>> ======================
>>> Gene Tsudik
>>> Chancellor's Professor of Computer Science
>>> University of California, Irvine
>>> On 9/26/16 11:43 AM, Cedric Westphal wrote:
>>>> That's very interesting. But since it's sent on this mailing list: would NDN be an answer to this? If the millions of IoT devices involved in the attack request a distinct object under the attacked page's prefix, it would happen exactly the same way, wouldn't it? And if all requests are for the same name, then it's the caching infrastructure of the high degree nodes that becomes attacked and shifting the attack target from akamai to a highly connected router is not a good trade-off.
>>>> C.
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: Ndn-interest [mailto:ndn-interest-bounces at lists.cs.ucla.edu] On Behalf Of Christos Papadopoulos
>>>> Sent: Sunday, September 25, 2016 6:04 PM
>>>> To:ndn-interest at lists.cs.ucla.edu
>>>> Subject: [Ndn-interest] Largest DDoS attack ever delivered by botnet of hijacked IoT devices
>>>> http://www.networkworld.com/article/3123672/security/largest-ddos-attack-ever-delivered-by-botnet-of-hijacked-iot-devices.html
>>>> Apologies if you have seen this already, but 600+Gbps DDoS attack from
>>>> IoT devices is truly remarkable. Moreover, it was *not* and reflection
>>>> attack! The target was protected by Akamai, who had to drop them (it was
>>>> hosted pro-bono) after a few days of sustained attack because it was
>>>> costing too much.
>>>> There are a few elements that might make this event a game changer. (a)
>>>> from now on, people may want to always talk about security in IoT, (b)
>>>> it raises questions about protecting the little guy from DDoS, the
>>>> customer here found a home at Google's Project Shield, but obviously
>>>> this is not scalable, and (c) cloud protection from DDoS is not a
>>>> general solution despite what cloud providers will have you believe.
>>>> To me such events bring to focus the weaknesses and fragility of the IP
>>>> architecture. With billions of IoT devices projected in the future, even
>>>> one packet/second (or even per minute) from a fraction of these devices
>>>> would be enough to cause real damage. We all know about the code quality
>>>> and ease of patching of IoT devices, this will not change.
>>>> Maybe Bruce Schneier 's near-apocalyptic thoughts are not too far off.
>>>> https://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram/archives/2016/0915.html#2
>>>> Christos.
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Ndn-interest mailing list
>>>> Ndn-interest at lists.cs.ucla.edu
>>>> http://www.lists.cs.ucla.edu/mailman/listinfo/ndn-interest
>>>> _______________________________________________
>>>> Ndn-interest mailing list
>>>> Ndn-interest at lists.cs.ucla.edu
>>>> http://www.lists.cs.ucla.edu/mailman/listinfo/ndn-interest
>>>> .

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://www.lists.cs.ucla.edu/pipermail/ndn-interest/attachments/20160927/499c1c0e/attachment.html>

More information about the Ndn-interest mailing list