Planned DDOS campaign against DNS is meant to highlight piracy legislation issues
Al Gore may have finally met his match. While members of Anonymous aren’t planning on inventing the internet, they are planning on destroying it — supposedly.
The tricky thing about Anonymous is that they’re Anonymous, so it’s hard to differentiate fact from fictional prank, even if you want to. But a Pastebin has been posted dubbed “Operation Global Blackout“, which claims that the Anons are going to test the limits of their distributed denial of service attacking capabilities at the end of March.
The DDOS campaign is expected to target the world’s 13 domain name servers (DNSs), that allow the public to use the internet by translating human legible text-string URLs into machine-readable IP addresses. If the attack indeed materializes and if the DNS servers are all taken down, the Mayan apocalypse could come early — the internet could blink offline.
The Pastebin describes:
By cutting these off the Internet, nobody will be able to perform a domain name lookup, thus, disabling the HTTP Internet, which is, after all, the most widely used function of the Web. Anybody entering “http://www.google.com” or ANY other url, will get an error page, thus, they will think the Internet is down, which is, close enough. Remember, this is a protest, we are not trying to ‘kill’ the Internet, we are only temporarily shutting it down where it hurts the most.
In other words “we’re not trying to kill the internet, but we’re trying to kill it for a little bit,” implies Anonymous.
The posting goes into the planned attack in explicit detail. The tool use will be the Reflective DNS Amplification DDoS tool. By spoofing the DNS server with small UDP packets which appear to have orginated from the DNS server itself, the attacker tricks the DNS server into sending messages to itself creating a cascade of failures. The “amplified” part comes from the fact that the sent packets are small, but they trigger a large barrage of data.
Anonymous will reportedly try to shut down DNS servers worldwide at the end of the month.
[Image Source: Renjus Blog]
So what’s the point of this planned attack? According to Anonymous:
Again, there’s no confirmation this post is real — it could simply be the work of a clever security researcher trying to scare the DNS servers into beefing up their security. Also, given that the Anons have explained their reported attack vector, it may be easier to block.
It’s a bit hard to believe that they could actually take down the internet. Past attacks on DNS servers have failed to accomplish the unthinkable — worldwide internet outage. And Anonymous‘s purported past claims — such as a threat that Facebook would be taken down (a claim later denied by some members), an attack on the NYSE, and a DDOS attack on BART all failed to have the intended level of service disruption. On the other hand Anonymous did help take down Sony Corp.’s (TYO:6758) digital properties as well as the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency‘s public homepage.
Thus it’s a bit premature to start panicking, but it couldn’t hurt to grab a few IP addresses of your favorite sites, just in case things get anywhere close to as crazy as the post promises.