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Optimizing Recurrent Pulsing Attacks using Application-Layer Amplification of Open DNS Resolvers


Shrew attacks or pulsing attacks are low-bandwidth network-level/layer-3 denial-of-service attacks. They target TCP connections by selectively inducing packet loss to affect latency and throughput. We combine the recently presented DNS CNAME-chaining attack with temporal lensing, a variant of pulsing attacks, to create a new, harder to block attack. For an attack, thousands of DNS resolvers have to be coordinated. We devise an optimization problem to find the perfect attack and solve it by using a genetic algorithm. The results show pulses created with our attack are 14 times higher than the attacker’s average bandwidth. Finally, we present countermeasures applicable to pulsing and CNAME-chaining, which also apply to this attack.


12th USENIX Workshop on Offensive Technologies (WOOT 18)

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Date last modified

2020-10-24 15:32:43