BT, Energis join alliance to finger DDoS gangs

Some of the world’s biggest names in telecoms have combined under the banner of The Fingerprint Alliance in order to combat the growing threat of organised criminals mounting major denial of service attacks.

The group, which includes companies such as BT, Cisco, Energis, Earthlink and Rackspace, is joining together with Arbor Networks to share information about attacks via the company’s Peakflow SP technology.

Peakflow SP is designed to fight the threat of DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks. The technology can detect anomalies in the system – for example repeated page requests from a group of machines. Through its ‘fingerprinting’ features Arbor claims that it can provide a profile to identify new and known network threats.

The Fingerprint Alliance is yet another example of companies and customers pooling resources to counter a threat from hackers. In this case, the fingerprinting features, identified by one company, are shared automatically among the other members of the Alliance. As a result, telcos can act faster to locate, isolate and shut down or at least minimise attacks from networks of zombie machines, which form the vast majority of DDoS assaults.

Recently the Honeypot Project revealed that there may be as many as a million PCs which have been compromised and primed to take part in DDoS attacks. Some of these networks consist of several thousand machines all of which can be used to target and bring down a single web site. Often the criminals behind these networks will threaten sites with DDoS attacks demand huge blackmail payments.

‘When an attack hits, time is of the essence,’ explained Tom Schuster, president of Arbor Networks. ‘By sharing the attack details providers are better able to protect their customers as the attack is mitigated closer to the point of origin, thus preventing collateral damage. Arbor’s intent is to have global service providers join together to combat these cyber threats and protect the overall infrastructure of the Internet’.

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