Anonymous DDoS Attacks Cons Web Users with Camouflaged Links

By CIOinsight  |  Posted 01-23-2012 Print Email
Anonymous is tricking unwitting Internet bystanders into participating in its Megaupload-inspired DDoS attacks by flooding the Web with innocuous-looking links.

Anonymous has a new tool in its arsenal that transforms casual Web surfers into unwitting participants in a distributed denial of service attack, according to security experts.

The loosely-knit group of activist hackers has embedded JavaScript into specially crafted Websites to redirect site visitors to the targeted site, Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, wrote on the Naked Security blog Jan. 20. The compromised page repeatedly attempts to access the target Website for the entire time the browser window is open, which only adds adding to the traffic bombardment.

Anonymous distributed links to these specially crafted Web pages via its Twitter feed which was re-tweeted widely, and links also popped up on Internet Relay Chat rooms, Facebook, Tumblr and other social networking sites. Some of the links led to PasteHTML.com, a site that looks a little like the popular text-sharing site Pastebin, frequently used by Anonymous to issue statements. A variation of this method allowed users to type in the IP address of target Web servers before the JavaScript code began executing.

Most of the links were obscured using URL shortening services such as bit.ly. Several Anonymous Twitter accounts have thousands of followers, and some gained "hundreds of thousands of new fans overnight" during the course of the campaign, according to Cluley.

The new method appears to have helped knock Universal Music and other sites offline during last week's MegaUpload-revenge attacks. "If you visit the Webpage, and do not have JavaScript disabled, you will instantly, without user interaction, begin to flood a Website of Anonymous's choice with unwanted traffic, helping to perpetuate a DDoS attack," Cluley said.

Internet users who have disabled JavaScript on their browser would not have been caught in this trick. However, considering how many Websites require JavaScript to do the simplest tasks nowadays, most people have the scripting language enabled.

"Don't forget, denial-of-service attacks are illegal. If you participate in such an attack you could find yourself receiving a lengthy jail sentences," Cluley warned.



 

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