Why Are Low and Slow Attacks Dangerous?

The Art of Slow and Low Volume Attacks: Understanding the signs and How it works

A low-speed attack is a DDoS cyber attack that aims to stop a web service using extremely slow HTTP or TCP traffic.

This type of DoS or DDoS attack relies on a small stream of very slow traffic targeting application or server resources.

Unlike more traditional brute-force attacks, low and slow attacks require very little bandwidth and can be hard to mitigate as they generate traffic that is very difficult to distinguish from normal traffic. While large-scale DDoS attacks are likely to be noticed quickly, low and slow attacks can go on undetected for long periods of time, all while denying or slowing service to real users.

What Are the Signs of a Low and Slow Cyber Attack?

Detecting a Low and Slow DDoS attack can be accomplished by performing network behavioral analysis during normal operations and then comparing this data to periods when an attack might be occurring. For instance, if a user requires considerable increased time to complete a transaction that normally would only take 10 seconds, then an attack is likely taking place and additional security steps should be taken.

How does a low and slow attack work?

Low and slow attacks target thread-based web servers with the aim of tying up every thread with slow requests, thereby preventing genuine users from accessing the service. This is accomplished by transmitting data very slowly, but just fast enough to prevent the server from timing out.

Attackers can use HTTP headers, HTTP POST requests, or TCP traffic to carry out low and slow attacks.

Here are 3 common DDoS attack examples:

  1. Slowloris Attack:

Much as its name implies, a Slowloris DDoS attack is slow and methodical.

Slowloris is an attack that uses partial HTTP requests to open connections between a single computer and a targeted Web server, then keeping those connections open for as long as possible. This results in overwhelming and slowing down the target. This type of DDoS attack requires minimal bandwidth to launch and only impacts the target web server, leaving other services and ports unaffected.

Why Are Low and Slow Attacks Dangerous?

  1. R U Dead Yet? (R.U.D.Y.) attack:

R.U.D.Y. is a denial-of-service attack tool that aims to keep a web server tied up by submitting long-form fields at an absurdly slow pace.

This Attack focuses on creating a few drawn-out requests rather than overwhelming a server with a high volume of quick requests.

The RUDY attack opens concurrent POST HTTP connections to the HTTP server and delays sending the body of the POST request to the point that the server resources are saturated. This attack sends numerous small packets at a very slow rate to keep the connection open and the server busy.

  1. Sockstress:

Sockstress is a method that is used to attack servers on the Internet and other networks utilizing TCP, including Windows, Mac, and any router or other Internet appliance that accepts TCP connections. In a Sockstress attack, the attacker establishes a partial connection to the SOCKS (Socket Secure) and then sends partial requests at a slow rate, causing the server to consume resources and eventually become unresponsive.

The method does this by attempting to use up local resources in order to crash a service or the entire machine, essentially a denial-of-service attack. Sockstress attacks are difficult to detect and mitigate, as they often generate low traffic volumes and appear to be legitimate traffic.

How to prevent DDoS low and slow attacks:

Detecting Low and Slow DDoS attacks necessitates real-time monitoring of the resources under attack, such as CPU, memory, connection tables, application states, application threads, etc. One method for mitigating low and slow DDoS attacks on websites is by upgrading and improving server availability. By having more connections available, it is less likely that a server will be overwhelmed by an attack.

Another way to mitigate a low or slow attack is to deploy a purpose-built cyber security solution that is designed to prevent DDoS attacks before they can reach the origin server. Constant monitoring of the status of resource allocation and trends on protected servers can help pinpoint attempts to overwhelm those resources.

How Network Fort can help?

The Network Fort solution has been protecting the world’s largest and most demanding networks from DDoS attacks for many years now. We strongly believe that the best way to protect your resources from modern DDoS attacks is through a multi-layer deployment of a reliable cyber security solution.

We employ AI-based algorithms and a learning approach to identify crucial cyber threats in their earliest stages. Using behavioral predictive analytics, NetworkFort prevents any intruder from getting into your network and blocks access to the gateway.

Only with a tightly integrated, multi-layer defense can you adequately protect your organization from the full spectrum of DDoS attacks. Contact us now and safeguard your valuable assets and confidential information with our advanced cybersecurity solution, which provides round-the-clock protection against emerging threats and vulnerabilities.

Why Are Low and Slow Attacks Dangerous?