The Rise of the DDoS Attacks and the Abuse of the WS-Discovery Protocol

A new type of attack that feeds on vulnerabilities in the
usage of the Web Services Dynamic Discovery protocol has been discovered
recently by analysts from Akamai’s DDoS mitigation service Prolexic.
The attackers here are said to have had used a moderately
new strategy—one that can possibly yield more than 15,000 per cent rate of
return for the junk data it heaves at a victim.
Since WS-Disclosure provides devices on a similar network a
chance to communicate, and guides them all to ping one area or address with
insights concerning themselves, attackers can control WS-Discovery by sending
uniquely crafted pernicious protocol requests to vulnerable devices like CCTV
cameras and DVRs, which is extremely simple for them to do as WS-Discovery is
intended to be utilized internally on local access networks and Akamai gauges
that approximately 800,000 gadgets exposed on the web can receive WS-Discovery
commands.
“There’s a huge pool of vulnerable devices sitting out there
waiting to be abused” says Chad Sailor, senior specialist on Akamai’s security
insight reaction group.
“DDoS attacks abusing the WS-Discovery protocol have
increased,” says security researcher Troy Mursch.
 “The notable
thing here is the amount of vulnerable hosts that can be abused and the large
amplification factor that enables crippling attacks.”
Video game platforms are the most well-known targets for
DDoS attacks, during the beginning of September, for instance, Blizzard’s
hugely famous World of Warcraft Classic went down sporadically for a
considerable length of time as a result of a DDoS attack.
“With gaming, they are one of our most frequently
attacked industries,” Akamai’s Seaman says. “We have a handful of
different gaming customers that we protect and we basically see the full gamut
of all the different attack vectors and exploratory attacks through them. So it’s
not surprising to see them being the first ones being targeted with a new
vector.”
In any case the dread about WS-Discovery DDoS attacks,
however, is that the gaming industry won’t be the last target as the
researchers caution once more that the industries should be prepared for
greater versions in the future.

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