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News

Simultaneous Website Attacks From HOIC Threat

Prolexic Technologies : 24 February, 2012  (Technical Article)
Prolexic provides details the HOIC malware targeting hundreds of websites in simultaneous DDoS attacks
Simultaneous Website Attacks From HOIC Threat
Prolexic Technologies has released a threat advisory for the High Orbit Ion Cannon (HOIC), an increasingly popular attack tool that can target up to 256 web addresses simultaneously.  

“A DDoS attack can come from anywhere, anytime.  It can be an act of revenge for a real or perceived slight, a political statement or completely random.  No business is immune to becoming a target,” said Paul Sop, chief technology officer at Prolexic.

“As the world’s most advanced experts in DDoS protection and mitigation, we feel it is our duty to arm the public with the tools and information they need to protect themselves from emerging DDoS attack tools such as HOIC,” he said.

The Prolexic Security Engineering and Response Team (PLXsert) continuously reviews and analyzes DDoS attack patterns and emerging trends to develop the intelligence and tools to prevent and combat DDoS attacks.  HOIC DDoS protection strategies have already been put in place for Prolexic’s customers.  In addition, as part of its public mission, PLXsert issues quarterly attack reports, as well as periodic threat advisories.

Considered the next generation replacement for the Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) flood attack tool, HOIC also includes support for booster files – customizable scripts that randomize attack signatures and make attacks more difficult to differentiate from legitimate traffic.

“On its own, the HOIC tool is limited. It still requires a coordinated group attack to bring a site down,” said Neal Quinn, VP of Operations at Prolexic.  “But with the booster scripts – which are already circulating widely among hacker circles – a group attack gains the advantage of stealth.  It becomes much more difficult to identify and mitigate, prolonging the outage caused by the attack.”

The DDoS underground has been urging participants to abandon the LOIC tool in favor of HOIC, making it likely that HOIC-based attacks will become increasingly common.

“The ability to hit up to multiple targets simultaneously (instead of just one with LOIC), and the use of randomization to evade detection, makes HOIC a threat to any business with a presence online,” Quinn said.  “Businesses should take steps now to protect themselves, either by following our recommendations or subscribing to a DDoS protection service.”
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