Amplifying the Hype | TechSNAP 104

Amplifying the Hype | TechSNAP 104

It’s been called the largest DDoS attack in history, we’ll bust past the hype and explain how a DNS Reflection attack works.

Plus a privacy surprise in Blackberry 10, the return of an old segment, a big back of your questions, and so much more!

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  • DNS Reflection Attack creates internet scare

    • There has been much talk recently about the Cyberbunker DDoS attack against Spamhaus, and the ‘internet breaking’ size of the attack
    • In truth, the attack did not break the internet, and was not that unusually large (described by one of the providers as only 10–15% larger than the regular large attacks they see)
    • The attack made use of ‘DNS Reflection Attack’, which basically sends UDP packets with a forged from address, requesting the answer to a large DNS query to machines around the globe that run ‘open dns resolvers’, which are recursive DNS servers that do not restrict queries to only those inside their local network
    • The forged from address in the header results in the DNS servers sending the response to the unexpecting victim, rather than the original requestor
    • There are millions of these misconfigured DNS servers around the globe
    • A possible resolution to this issue would be for ISPs to block traffic leaving their network with a from address that is not actually from inside their network (and therefore most likely forged)
    • That might not have helped in this case, since the attacker, Cyberbunker, has their own AS and is responsible for that type of configuration on their network
    • The real details have started to emerge and while it was reported that the attack was so large it that it disrupted the London internet exchange, that is not entirely true
    • Response from someone who works for one of CloudFlare’s upstream providers
    • What actually happened was that Cyberbunker managed to attack parts of LINX (London Internet Exchange) via IP addresses that are not normally announced to the internet, but had leaked due to misconfiguration by some members of LINX
    • Looking at the Spamhaus DDoS from a BGP Prospective
    • Cyberbunker (the attackers) did a BGP hijack via NL-IX (the Netherlands Internet Exchange) for the IP address of, creating a more specific route and disrupting traffic to destin for that IP, routing it to a rouge server at Cyberbunker
    • In the past Cyberbunker has executed similar BGP hijacks, including against a usually unroutable IP range of the US Department of Defence

    How the world of tax havens actually works

    • The ICIJ (International Consortium of Investigative Journalists) has come into possession of 30 years worth of files, emails and other data from 10 of the most popular offshore tax havens in the world
    • The files cover more than 120,000 offshore entities (such as shell corporations, trusts, private foundations, and IBCs) that involve people from more than 170 different countries
    • The leak totals over 260 gigabytes of data, making it 160 times larger than the Wikileaks US Cables dump
    • The data details the structure of a number of different schemes and includes details that the holders of these offshore accounts would much rather keep secret
    • The documents create the links between people and their offshore money that governments have been unable or unwilling to create themselves
    • It is not yet clear if governments will use the data to prosecute tax cheats
    • CBC Coverage
    • The CBC has also created an Interactive tool that allows you to step through the process of hiding your money offshore, including:
      • Choose which Tax Haven to send your money to? what are the taxes rates like? Do they have a tax information sharing agreement with your home country?
      • Then you must create your ‘secret identity’ that will hide the true ownership of the funds. Offshore Trust, Private Foundation, LLC, IBC, Shelf Corp or Individual Account?
      • Next, choose the bank you will place your deposit with. Where are they based? How secretive are they? Will your home government be able to influence them?
      • Now it is time to actually move your money. If you’ve already paid tax on it, you could just wire it, but then the tax man may wonder if you’re earning any income with it…. Suitcase of cash (Illegal but usually pretty easy to get away with)? Phony Lawsuit? Money Swap?
      • Then you have to decide how to invest the money, the entire point of getting it offshore was to avoid paying tax on the income it generates
      • Now the hard part, spending the money. Move offshore? Back-to-back Loan? Insurance Scam? Offshore Credit Card? Fixed Gambling?
    • The reasons for moving funds offshore are numerous, beyond just avoiding taxes, this data shows efforts by many to hide wealth from the courts, to avoid losing it in legal and civil lawsuits or costly divorces
    • This data exposes the collective efforts of some of the greediest people in the world to hide their wealth from taxes and the law

    DDoS attacks against Mt.Gox may be attempt to game the exchange

    • The BBC reports that an ongoing denial of service attack against Mt.Gox, the most popular Bitcoin exchange, may actually be an effort to influence the trading price of bitcoin
    • Mt.Gox suggests that the pattern of the attacks makes it seem like the attackers sell their bitcoins at the peak price, then use the attack to disrupt trading (which causes the price to fall) and create fear, uncertainty and doubt about bitcoin, which causes the skittish to sell, further dropping the price
    • The attackers then swoop in and buy up more bitcoins with the recent proceeds from that sales, getting back more bitcoins than they started with
    • The DDoS then stops, and the price climbs, then the cycle is repeated
    • During the attack, bitcoins dropped to as low as $110 USD from $145
    • This seems to underscore the need for a more robust and diverse trading and exchange system



    Bitcoin Blaster

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