Well… Maybe not the world, but the Internet it seems.
According to a Pastebin letter, Anonymous announced they will black-out Internet on 31st of March.
See the announcement here: Announcement
They even explained how to do it by attacking the DNS Root Servers on Internet using a reflected amplification attack.
If this is successful, the root DNS servers will become unresponsive and cannot handle any other requests, making DNS resolution as we know it break and render many internet-applications like browsers, mail, VoIP and instant-messaging useless or unavailable.
I am bit 50/50 on this. First of all, would Anonymous be capable? Probably they are if we look at their track-record in the last months/years (with a bit of a difference that the magnitude of the attack is much bigger than before). Previous targets where mostly companies/governments that where directly attacked, this is a world-network and will affect most of us as well.
What if this is just fake? Still it scares me somehow. I have wondered about the root DNS servers for some time now and in the past there were some semi-successful attacks already utilising vulnerabilities in DNS software or by just overload/DDOS.
I guess it's possible but I can not compute what is needed to do so. Lots and lots of DNS servers I'm guesstimating.
It may be a domino effect when they start and probably the attacking DNS servers used will be locked out of the Internet. But if these are legitimate DNS servers that are mis-used, it shuts out users of the DNS server as well and so the problem becomes larger.
Then there is caching, the announcement states that many providers use low TTL's anyway, making their attack more successful. This implies that they "override" the TTL ignoring the TTL's that are accompanied with the root DNS server records. Which is plausible, but still it takes time to bleed dry. And of course this is against the DNS "law" :-).
So DNS admins, please don't override the TTL's, and change them now to honour them as intended, you still have 6 weeks to go! :-).
Even then… There is some consensus that it will take roughly 5 to 7 days of continuos attack before "Internet" will be unusable. It will break bit by bit during that time of course.
Then the attack itself is described as a reflective amplification attack. Reflective because the "attacker" is not attacking the root DNS servers directly, but uses other DNS servers, spoofing itself as the root DNS server. And amplification, as the response/answer to the (attack) query is larger than the query itself.
Makes sense, but relies on vulnerabilities of the DNS software, and DNS servers free to use without any security measures… And that scares me because there are many DNS servers out there, and many of them are vulnerable. Studies last year even tells us that the number of these (vulnerable) servers increase, not decrease.
How about the public DNS services like Google Public DNS and OpenDNS? Well, they probably will not be "used" in the attack, but they use the DNS root servers as well for DNS resolution. So they will be affected. I guess they counter-measure things by easing the pain — like statically cache all the TLDs.
Still trying to figure out the impact of this, depending how hard the root DNS servers will be hit. If hit at all of course, the effect could be noticeable to complete unavailability of the prime services and applications we use daily/hourly.
I think we should worry and rethink this whole root DNS server thing anyway, as besides the Anonymous announcement, they are becoming increasingly attractive to attack.
It's all an "if" story but we will be on our toes…
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