Click here to close now.


Java IoT Authors: Pat Romanski, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Betty Zakheim, Steve Watts

Related Topics: Containers Expo Blog, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Microsoft Cloud, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security

Containers Expo Blog: Blog Feed Post

Directed DDoS Attacks as Screens

Hiding behind that DDoS attack is a nightmare. Stop it before the nightmare comes true

Military science has a simple mechanism utilized at almost every level of both tactical and strategic thinking: Pin the enemy down with a distraction (a feint or an actual attack, either way), and then hit them where they’re not looking. This maxim has worked very well from squad level tactics where you pin them down with a base of fire while half the squad creeps around the enemy to hit them from the side to strategic tactics like when you attack on the entire front, but keep a massive reserve to push through any point that shows weakness. While the correlations of security to warfare can grow rather tiresome, sometimes, they are the correct correlations. The manner in which DDoS attacks are increasingly being used is well defined by this military maxim.

Picture from Kursk, 76 years ago the day this blog was posted. The space in the middle between the darker red lines is where the Soviet army found weakness in the German lines around Prokhorovka. After a general counter-offensive, this weak spot is where they poured their reserves and ended the last major German offensive of WWII.

Why is that? The trend for DDoS attacks is to use the DDoS to mask some other intention – literally using it as a massive assault, so a few targeted attacks can be hidden within to try and break through the defenses of the organization being attacked. The methods range from highly sophisticated to pretty straight-forward, but there is a lot of sense in utilizing this tactic. First off, if the security team is focused on the DDoS, there’s a chance they’ll miss the more targeted attacks. Second off, with millions of connections occurring, the attack of a few packets might be overlooked, and third, while adjusting things to deal with the DDoS, security or other IT staff might well make a change that opens the door to one of these targeted attacks.

The aim is to get inside and steal data, the distraction is the DDoS, which is a very real attack, but forces the defender to split resources, or even dedicate all resources to defending against the DDoS. As in warfare, sometimes this tactic is staggeringly successful, and sometimes not. Even when not successful, the damage done to business can be immense. In the month before this blog post was written, nearly every major US bank had experienced DDoS attacks, with most suffering some form of reduced service or even outage during the attacks. The linked to article does not include others who were targeted after the date of publication, so the total number of US banks is pretty large.

And if you think that banks are being targeted enmasse for some random outside reason, I’ve got a highly influential spot on the Anonymous board of directors to sell you.

The DDoS attacks being waged against banks are for some other, more nefarious reason, and while I don’t know what that is at the moment, they’re banks. That does make it easy to speculate “financial gain” in one form or another.

The thing is, there are a variety of ways to stop such attacks, including utilizing our own BIG-IP (meant to handle outrageous volumes of requests, and able to identify most DDoS methods before they reach your servers) to stop DDoS dead in its tracks. The problem is that we often don’t treat security seriously until it is a problem. If you’re a large enough organization, at this point you should be able to determine that you will at some point be the target of a DDoS attack. If you’re a financial institution, no matter how small, you should be able to come to that same conclusion. So stop waiting for services to go down, find some money in the budget, do some research, and put something in place. Most major banks started to address DDoS last year, and took a closer look at it again in April – the last two targeted waves of attacks – but not all. There are a ton of reasons why some didn’t, but the trend is now obvious, procrastinating may hurt.

My co-worker David Holmes has written about mitigating a lot of these attacks here, and his approach is just one of several. In fact, if you search his blog for DDoS or Attack Mitigation, you get a ton of valuable information.

The thing is that pretty clearly there’s an ulterior motive to these attacks, and stopping the DDoS stands a good chance of either exposing or stopping whatever the ulterior motive is. And in banking, blocking ulterior motives is a way of life, no?

Many banking websites disabled logins during the attacks on their premises, but this alone can cause customer flight for the people who do all of their banking online. It’s their money, they tend to get testy if you won’t let them at it. Rumors abound, for example, that Citibank blocked logins for days and only slowly returned functionality. Meanwhile, customers were stewing. That’s a problem they will have to resolve outside the technological realm, but is also a proof that the easy answers – take the website down, protect customers’ money by disabling logins, etc – are not good enough. I’m not picking on Citi here, they were just the one I was pointed at by online friends, other big financial firms did much the same thing while under these attacks.

The security of our financial information is of tantamount importance to all of us. Banks do a very good job of protecting that information (consider number of breaches versus number of transactions or accounts as a measure), but in a changing environment they must consider doing even more. DDoS prevention appears to be a staple of FSI security moving forward. And as is always the case with security and the Internet, that will solve the current round of problems, but with billions of people on the internet, another challenge is just a mouse-click away.

Here’s hoping that none of the hidden agendas were realized while those attacks were going on, and here’s to security folks who now have to be more alert about other parts of security while defending against a DDoS. Thanks for doing what you do, most of the people out here have no idea how effective you are at keeping our data safe. And that’s probably for the best.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Don MacVittie

Don MacVittie is currently a Senior Solutions Architect at StackIQ, Inc. He is also working with Mesamundi on D20PRO, and is a member of the Stacki Open Source project. He has experience in application development, architecture, infrastructure, technical writing, and IT management. MacVittie holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Northern Michigan University, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers, and a Social Business Evangelist, wil...
PubNub has announced the release of BLOCKS, a set of customizable microservices that give developers a simple way to add code and deploy features for realtime apps.PubNub BLOCKS executes business logic directly on the data streaming through PubNub’s network without splitting it off to an intermediary server controlled by the customer. This revolutionary approach streamlines app development, reduces endpoint-to-endpoint latency, and allows apps to better leverage the enormous scalability of PubNub’s Data Stream Network.
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user experience, both offline and online. The focus of this talk was on IBM Cloudant, Apache CouchDB, and ...
I recently attended and was a speaker at the 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center. I also had the opportunity to attend this event last year and I wrote a blog from that show talking about how the “Enterprise Impact of IoT” was a key theme of last year’s show. I was curious to see if the same theme would still resonate 365 days later and what, if any, changes I would see in the content presented.
Cloud computing delivers on-demand resources that provide businesses with flexibility and cost-savings. The challenge in moving workloads to the cloud has been the cost and complexity of ensuring the initial and ongoing security and regulatory (PCI, HIPAA, FFIEC) compliance across private and public clouds. Manual security compliance is slow, prone to human error, and represents over 50% of the cost of managing cloud applications. Determining how to automate cloud security compliance is critical to maintaining positive ROI. Raxak Protect is an automated security compliance SaaS platform and ma...
Most of the IoT Gateway scenarios involve collecting data from machines/processing and pushing data upstream to cloud for further analytics. The gateway hardware varies from Raspberry Pi to Industrial PCs. The document states the process of allowing deploying polyglot data pipelining software with the clear notion of supporting immutability. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Shashank Jain, a development architect for SAP Labs, discussed the objective, which is to automate the IoT deployment process from development to production scenarios using Docker containers.
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry – resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his general session at 17th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, broke down what we have to work with, discussed the benefits and pitfalls and how we can best use them to design hosted applications.
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data shows "less than 10 percent of IoT developers are making enough to support a reasonably sized team....
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Summit, Charles Kendrick, CTO and Chief Architect at Isomorphic Software, demonstrated examples of com...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningful and actionable insights. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Paul Turner, Chief Marketing Officer at...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and technology requirements that will drive the Internet of Things from hype to reality.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessions, I wanted to share some of my observations on emerging trends. As cyber security serves as a fou...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now all corporate assets – people, objects, and spaces – can share information about themselves and thei...
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Yet a closer inspection at the data reveals less than half of these cloud projects involve production...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true change and transformation possible.
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem" in this scenario: microservice A (releases daily) depends on a couple of additions to backend B (re...