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Ion Beam through the Cloud

Ion Beam

The whole Wikileaks incident now triggers a third article. This article has been discussing hacking in quiet some articles already, this time I would like to talk about another act of war in cyberspace, which is more about quantity than quality, namely: DoS, DDoS and LOIC attacks.

DoS stands for Denial-of-Service attack. These attacks can be directed against any informational infrastructure in cyberspace which normally responds to access. If you try to access a website for example, the website first has to respond (hey, I am here) and than you download the information from the website until it is finally shown on your computer. If a lot of people try to do that at the same time, the process gets slower and slower because the same width of the information superhighway exit is used by more cars – the most used analogy in Internet terms: cars. Anyway, back to the point: a DoS attacks basically sends a lot of small cars (IP packets), down the highway exit (connection) to the village (website hoster) in order to create a traffic jam (Denial of Service), so that no one can reach the village anymore. In the past few days, this village is worldwide known as Mastercard City and also VISA City. DoS attacks do not necesarily need a program because it is a simple command (ping destination), genuinely available on almost every operating system. The only thing you need then is the IP address (highway exit number) of the host (village). This command can be easily altered in size of the cars (IP packet size), distance between the realsed cars (inteval) and a lot more.

My Ubuntu Maverick gives me by default the following options: [-c count] [-i interval] [-w deadline] [-p pattern] [-s packetsize] [-t ttl] [-I interface] [-M pmtudisc-hint] [-m mark] [-S sndbuf] [-T tstamp-options] [-Q tos] [hop1 …]

DDoS stands for Distributed Denial-of-Service attack. Technically, there is no different to DoS. The only difference here is the quality of peole involved, sending out IP packets. DDoS therefore marks a high quantity of people using the ping command to deny a target the service.

As you can see, DoS is more the technical term while DDoS is the actually name for the action which takes place. DDoS can be carried out in three manners. Firstly, a lot of people decide to ping the target server at the same time for a certain amount of time. There is no special name for it, it is basically a coordinated DoS attack or a simple DDoS attack.

The most common way for DDoS involves more criminal elements. A certain person or group infects computers of random people with malware which enables him or the group to make these computers ping a target without the knowledge of the owner of that computer. These computers are then called ‘bots’ or ‘zombies’. The network of these bots and zombies is called ‘botnet’. The beauty of these networks is that the owner cannot only use it for his own preferences but can also render the ‘services’ of the botnet to other people. Either he gets paid for targeting a certain aim or he gives up control about the ping command to someone for a fixed amount of time and gets paid for that.

The third option, currently applied to get ‘justice’ for the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, is the so-called ‘Low Orbit Ion Cannon’. As far as I understood it, and please correct me if I am wrong, is that it works similar to a botnet. But instead of being infected with malware, you install a program on your computer which enables a person or group to make use of your computer resources to ping a target. It makes DDoS easier and needs less coordination among the participating people. However, the flaw is, that you give up the control over who you attack. However, it is voluntarily and is currently regarded as support for Wikileaks. I would like to mention that Julian never mentioned anything about it, and that it can be assumed that he has not a lot to do with all of that.

Due to the already established link to Wikileaks, I just would like to mentioned that my personal opinion on the latter one is critical. It is a more or less effective tool but because it does damage, it already crosses a line – in my opinion. The American rights organization Electronic Frontier Foundation mentioned that the best answer to censorship of free speech is more speech and as of now I support this statement more than digitally throwing stones and burning down cars.

For more information, use your search engine on ‘cloud computing’ and ‘honeypots’…this will give you a more interesting framework.

In outspoken and not denialing support
Sven

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