Marcin Nawrocki, Mattijs Jonker, Thomas C. Schmidt, Matthias Wählisch,
The Far Side of DNS Amplification: Tracing the DDoS Attack Ecosystem from the Internet Core,
In: Proc. of ACM Internet Measurement Conference (IMC), p. 419–434, ACM : New York, 2021.

Abstract: In this paper, we shed new light on the DNS amplification ecosystem, by studying complementary data sources, bolstered by orthogonal methodologies. First, we introduce a passive attack detection method for the Internet core, i.e., at Internet eXchange Points (IXPs). Surprisingly, IXPs and honeypots observe mostly disjoint sets of attacks: 96% of IXP-inferred attacks were invisible to a sizable honeypot platform. Second, we assess the effectiveness of observed DNS attacks by studying IXP traces jointly with diverse data from independent measurement infrastructures. We find that attackers efficiently detect new reflectors and purposefully rotate between them. At the same time, we reveal that attackers are a small step removed from bringing about significantly higher amplification factors (14×). Third, we identify and fingerprint a major attack entity by studying patterns in attack traces. We show that this entity dominates the DNS amplification ecosystem by carrying out 59% of the attacks, and provide an in-depth analysis of its behavior over time. Finally, our results reveal that operators of various .gov names do not adhere to recommended DNSSEC key rollover policies, which exacerbates amplification potential, and which we can verifiably connect to misuses and attacker decision-making.

Themes: Network Security , Internet Measurement and Analysis


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