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Another record-breaking DDoS attack spotted - Cloudflare

A multi-vector distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack peaked just under 2 Tbps, making it one of the largest ever recorded.

Cloudflare says it has detected and stopped a multi-vector attack that combines DNS amplification attack and UDP flood. While DNS amplification clogs victims' bandwidth, UDP flood can turn the targeted server unresponsive.

The attack was launched from 15,000 bots running a variant of the original Mirai code on Internet of Things (IoT) devices and unpatched GitLab instances. According to Cloudflare, the attack lasted around a minute.

First discovered in 2016, Mirai used malware that infected Linux-operated devices, then self-propagating via open Telnet ports to infect other machines.

What is a DDoS attack

The 2 Tbps attack spotted by Cloudflare comes days after researchers at Rapid7 identified a GitLab vulnerability that could allow threat actors to run botnet malware on an infected server remotely. Researchers found close to 60,000 internet-facing GitLab installations.

According to Cloudflare, multiple terabit-strong DDoS attacks were registered last quarter, and data points to attacks growing in intensity. Quarter-over-quarter reports show that network-layer DDoS attacks increased by 44%.

"While the fourth quarter is not over yet, we have, again, seen multiple terabit-strong attacks that targeted Cloudflare customers," Omer Yoachimik, the author of Cloudflare's blog post, writes.

Relentless attackers

Another major botnet, Mēris, marked the return of dangerous botnets recently. In August, Russian tech giant Yandex was hit by the largest DDoS attack in history.

The distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against Yandex that was carried out from August to September clocked in at a humongous 22 million requests per second (RPS).

A DDoS caused internet outages in New Zealand when the country's third-largest internet service provider was hit. The attack cut off around 15% of the country's broadband customers from the internet at one point.

Recent reports show that 2021 will be yet another record year for the number of DDoS attacks carried out. Threat actors launched approximately 2.9 million DDoS attacks in the first quarter of 2021, a 31% increase from the same time in 2020.

During DDoS attacks, vast numbers of "bots" attack target computers. Hence, many entities are attacking a target, which explains the "distributed" part. The bots are infected computers spread across multiple locations. There isn't a single host. You may be hosting a bot right now and not even know it.

When DDoS attackers direct their bots against a specific target, it has some pretty unpleasant effects. Most importantly, a DDoS attack aims to trigger a "denial of service" response for people using the target system. This takes the target network offline.

If you've repeatedly struggled to access a retail website, you may well have encountered a denial of service. And it can take hours or days to recover from.

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We've seen just the tip of the Mēris botnet iceberg

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