Denial of Service & Brute Force Attacks – Drupal, WordPress, Joomla & vBulletin

Open source Security Website Development
There are many, who are likely getting emails with the subject header “Large Distributed Brute Force WordPress Attack Underway – 40000 Attacks Per Minute. Recently, we come across piece of content with titled “More Than 162,000 WordPress Sites Used for Distributed Denial of Service Attack”. There are lots of ongoing Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and Brute Force attacks against WordPress website.

It expands far beyond that particular platform as its affecting lots of other platforms as well like Drupal, Joomla and vBulletin. The major problem is that these attacks are happening from last couple of months now and such attacks become the part of the daily life.

Let’s have discussion about the problems that website owners are facing to date in 2014 – Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) and Brute Force attacks.

Denial of Service (DoS) / Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)

When it comes to Denial of Service (DoS) attacks and Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, they are the same thing and only thing that differentiating the two is scale. Whenever you hear something about DoS attack, you can expect that the attack to be marginal.

For most examples you someone says DDoS, you will automatically think the opposite. Whether DoS or DDoS, the attacker can make use of one or more computers. Moreover, the DoS attacks are on the lower end of that spectrum while DDoS attacks are on the higher end of that spectrum.

In reality, there are lots of compromised servers that can be your own website server and there are also some chances of leveraging pingback features like the one that shared earlier this week. The main values of a DoS / DDoS attack are extremely simple as the idea as well as the intent is to upset your service.

Recently, the US-CERT offers this description “In a denial-of-service (DoS) attack, an attacker attempts to prevent legitimate users from accessing information or services. By targeting your computer and its network connection, or the computers and network of the sites you are trying to use, an attacker may be able to prevent you from accessing email, websites, online accounts (banking, etc.), or other services that rely on the affected computer.” The explosion of DoS/DDoS attacks is certainly attributed to the ever-growing DDoS-for-hire service market.

Why DDoS a Website?

Many of you all have lots of questions like why and how, so here is the complete list of reasons that come-up with that best help comprehend why someone would do something like this:
  • People bored with nothing better to do.

  • Political agenda – Malaysian Elections 2013

  • You’ve pissed people off – Brian Krebs – The Researchers Hackers Love to Hate

  • You’re in competition with each other

So, what you think is there anything that fit into any of them? The odd is that everyone, who is reading this, is most likely does.
Brute Force Attacks
Now, let’s have a look on Brute Force Attacks:
Brute force attacks have shared some similarities with DoS/DDoS attacks that are independent attacks in it of them. However, the whole focus is extremely different from what you would come to expect of DoS/DDoS attacks. The Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) group gives an expressive description:
A brute force attack can manifest itself in many different ways, but primarily consists in an attacker configuring predetermined values, making requests to a server using those values, and then analyzing the response. For the sake of efficiency, an attacker may use a dictionary attack (with or without mutations) or a traditional brute-force attack (with given classes of characters e.g.: alphanumeric, special, case (in)sensitive). Considering a given method, number of tries, efficiency of the system which conducts the attack, and estimated efficiency of the system which is attacked the attacker is able to calculate approximately how long it will take to submit all chosen predetermined values”
Bruce Forcing a Site, but Why?
We also talked earlier about the main aim of Brute Force attacks, which is basically a lot different from DoS/DDoS attacks. The main aim objective of it is to access. In the deep down of the web, we all know that access is king. Attackers can easily achieve notoriety amongst their peers with it and also attain huge economical gains and bring some pain to their virtual presence.
How to protect yourself from Brute Force / Denial of Service Attacks?
Recently, the huge growth causes a great deal and information overload for lots of website owners. When it comes to biggest delusion, it is the idea that local solutions are addressing or fixing the growing dilemma, that is these DoS/DDoS and Brute Force attacks. But the reality is solutions like extensions as well as plugins that do not and won’t begin to scratch the surface.

In the up-coming months as well as year, we can see that the true success lies in service based Website Firewalls with its own infrastructures that especially designed to handle numerous issues. Well, the actual solution comes down to the sharing, analysis and segmentation of the traffic load. The biggest challenge is around intelligence, not common intelligence, but attack as well as data intelligence.

We all know that local solutions are limited to the instant field of vision. To make and employ suitable counter measures of information is not in the favor and it is one of the cruel realities of the current situation.

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