Having a look at the DDOS tool used in the attacks today

Published: 2010-12-09
Last Updated: 2010-12-10 00:52:19 UTC
by Mark Hofman (Version: 2)
19 comment(s)


With the current wikileak driven DDOS attacks I thought I'd have a closer look at the tool being used to conduct the attack. 
The tool that is being distributed if you wish to partake in the attack (and no that is not an invitation or endorsement) is an application called javaLOIC a Java port of Low Orbit Ion Cannon. A tool that can be used to test a site's resilience to DOS attacks.  But obviously if you point it at someone else's the effect can be quite damaging. 
To be honest there isn't really much to the application. A pretty screen with some buttons to press and a flood module that crafts some packets to send to the target to deal with. 

You enter the twitter ID that has been communicated to you and then once you enter it on the screen you click the "Get Orders" button and when ready you click the "Fire!!" button. Other than that there isn't really that much to the application. 

The application uses a hardcoded URL with an interchangeable twitter ID.  It pulls a json file down and parses it for target, protocol and port information. When the "Fire!!!" Button is pressed a number of sessions are established with the target server (in my test cases 7 sessions were established).  The string "hihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihi" is sent to the port (I assume this may be configurable).  And that is basically it. The flood module cranks out multiple requests at a time and the target server gets busy 

So in essence it is a whole bunch of people requesting a resource that is not available on the server.  When you get enough people doing this, something has to give.  In this case the web sites of the targets. If they have an IPS in place it may be as simple as looking for the above string to help slow the attack and keep the site up. 
The twitter angle in this application piqued my interest,  it is using the twitter API in a new and creative way, certainly one that hadn't readily occurred to me. However, I guess easy enough for twitter to deal with, but then it likely becomes a game of "wack-a-mole" of find the evil twitter account being used this time round. 
Mark H


A Java Script version of LOIC is also being used (thanks Jeff).  As you can see from the screen shot it comes pre targeted, in this case paypal.  There is also a mobile version which doesn't look as pretty and is currently not pre-targeted and uses the same http requests.

From the code it does a HTTP request from the target site and has some elements in the code as to not adversely affect the browser being used.  Target changes are communicated via the IRC channel to participants. From the looks of it the code could easily be modified to "autofire" rather than require a user to chose to participate.   


Keywords: DDOS tools
19 comment(s)


Re: "The twitter angle in this application peaked my interest" - should be "piqued", not "peaked". Thanks.
@pedantry - fixed, it is late :-)
"The tool that is being distributed if you wish to partake in the attack is an application called javaLOIC..."

We're not actually advocating that people partake in this illegal attack now, are we? :p
I believe the C# version of the loic is also being used. Source code is available for this version. Looks like iptables rate limiting when properly configured could be a pretty good defense.
@sharpesecurity - only th3j35t3r is using XerXes and he stated that he will never release this tool - http://th3j35t3r.wordpress.com. He is also against wikileaks so won't be on the same side as anonymous.
could use a Snort sig to watch network traffic to see if anyone on your network is partaking in the DDoS activity
"if you wish to partake in the attack...". Does this statement meet the ethical standard for a certified security professional? From the GIAC certification candidate handbook "GIAC certification holders and those
attempting to obtain GIAC certification at any level must act in a lawful and ethical
fashion for the benefit of the public, the profession and the companies to whom
they provide professional services"
Is the hardcoded URL for the Twitter API call known? Is it a range, list, or other set of IPs:ports? Like to know the easiest way of isolating this issue on my network
I seriously doubt the author's intention here is to suggest or recommend that he or any of us participate.

What I do like about this is that the end user is making a conscious decision to turn his or her computer over to the controller and become an active participant in an illegal activity. It's a voluntary botnet and the volunteer participant is now just as liable as the bot controller.

Oh, and "whack"-a-mole I think is the proper spelling there.
Give Mark a break he's Australian

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