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New Loop DoS Attack Targets UDP-Based Application-Layer Protocols

A new denial-of-service (DoS) attack has been recently discovered, which targets application-layer protocols that rely on User Datagram Protocol (UDP). Known as Loop DoS, this attack can potentially put hundreds of thousands of hosts at risk.

According to researchers at the CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security, this attack pairs two servers of vulnerable protocols to communicate constantly. This results in a self-perpetuating loop that produces a large traffic volume, leading to a denial-of-service situation for the systems or networks involved.

UDP is a connectionless protocol that does not validate source IP addresses, making it vulnerable to IP spoofing. As a result, when attackers create UDP packets that include a victim's IP address, the destination server responds to the victim rather than the attacker, creating a reflected DoS attack.

The study reveals that specific implementations of UDP, such as DNS, NTP, TFTP, Active Users, Daytime, Echo, Chargen, QOTD, and Time, can be exploited to create a Loop DoS attack. This attack can be triggered with just one host capable of spoofing, making it simple for attackers to execute.

Once the attack is initiated, even the attackers cannot stop it. Consequently, the targeted systems will remain unresponsive until the attack is mitigated.

Although there is no evidence of this attack being used in the wild, the researchers warn that it is easy to and that various companies' multiple products are affected. They suggest implementing measures such as BCP38 to filter spoofed traffic and prevent these attacks.

In conclusion, the Loop DoS attack is a severe threat that can risk hundreds of thousands of hosts. Organizations must be aware of this attack and take the necessary precautions to safeguard their systems and networks.

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