Security watchers have warned of a new plague of virulent denial of service (DoS) attacks carried out using so-called zombie agents.
Over the last few years, big names such as eBay, Amazon, Yahoo and the White House have all been brought to their knees by DoS attacks marshalled by a 'zombie master'.
The attacks can typically be tracked, but a plague of 'pulsing zombies' is reported to be infiltrating the internet accompanied by warnings that they could be harder to stop.
Typical DoS attacks come from a multitude of zombie agents installed on exploited servers which are triggered to simultaneously send large amounts of garbage data to one machine. Programs that are readily available on the internet, and have been used in attacks on major companies, include Trin00 and Stacheldraht.
The resulting effect from these attacks is that the target server becomes inundated with traffic requests and is effectively paralysed. Although it is difficult to track the 'zombie master', or whoever is controlling the agents, it is possible to find and shut down the mindless zombies simply by following the streams of data.
The problem with 'pulsing zombies' is that they don't attack with a stream of data. They send a short burst which contains a huge amount of garbage and then go quiet for a while.
Using this method can achieve the same results, while making it extremely difficult to find the zombie machines and close them down.
Security resource Infosyssec warned that contrary to popular belief "these zombies are not on the drawing board - they exist and have been caught in the wild".
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