New WS-Discovery DDoS attack is yet another instance of a UDP reflection attack

Judging from the news you'd be led to believe there's another type of reflection DDoS attack in the wild.

Same Same but Different

shutterstock_1215128404Putting this in context, UDP Reflection DDoS attacks are as common as the communication protocols using User Datagram Protocol (UDP). In all these cases, if an attacker can elicit a sizeable response packet using a small query packet, a reflection attack is feasible. The WS-Discovery DDoS attack is precisely this - another UDP based reflection DDoS attack.

If you look back not too recently, there have been many similar reflective DDoS attacks based on UPD, namely: NTP and UPnP to name just two examples of protocols used to create a reflective DDoS attack. All reflective UDP DDoS attacks are only possible because of the asynchronous nature of the UDP protocol itself. Another important and often overlooked contributing factor, in almost all cases of reflective UDP DDoS attacks, is the lack of enforcement of the BCP 38 RFC standard.

Protecting against WS-Discovery DDoS attack

More importantly, from the defenders perspective, these nuances and variants of UDP based DDoS reflection attacks, like the WS-Discovery DDoS attack, should all be mitigated by a DDoS mitigation service provider that can deal with the volume these attacks generate. Usually these are a Scrubbing Center services and / or Content Distribution Networks (CDN).

In any event, any DDoS mitigation solution that has been configured to mitigate UDP based DDoS attack vectors will most likely block these UDP based DDoS attacks, regardless of the specific protocol used to create them.

Download Our Guide to the Critical 18 DDoS Tests for Mitigation


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About Yotam Alon

Yotam is Head - R&D at MazeBolt and is in charge of all R&D activities, infrastructure and security. With five years in the security industry, Yotam brings fresh perspectives and insights into current technologies and development flows. He holds a BSc. in mathematics and philosophy and enjoys hitting the archery range in his spare time.