Carpet Bombing

  • Fabian Sinner
  • September 19, 2023

Table of content

    Carpet Bombing

    In IT, the term Carpet Bombing refers to an overload attack (DDoS) in which an enormous number of small requests overload a system. The problem: Due to the small requests, usual protection mechanisms often detect the danger only when it is long too late.

    Carpet bombing takes place in various areas. For example, such an attack can affect network infrastructure by causing attackers to overload network resources with a large volume of small requests, which could result in degraded network connectivity. Similarly, web services and applications can become targets of Carpet Bombing by bombarding them with a flood of requests to affect their responsiveness or availability.

    Even cloud services are not immune to such attacks, with resource overloads achievable in a cloud environment. In addition, online platforms such as e-commerce websites or social media could also be affected by carpet bombing attacks to disrupt regular operations.

    How can you tell if a company is under a Carpet Bombing attack?

    An organization subject to a Carpet Bombing attack will show several signs and symptoms that indicate the system is overloaded. Here are some indicators to look out for:

    • Significant drop in performance: An obvious indication of a Carpet Bombing attack is a drastic drop in performance of the affected IT systems. If the responsiveness of networks, applications, or web services noticeably slows down or even collapses, this could indicate a massive influx of small requests.
    • Increased network load: A sudden and significant increase in network load is another indication of a Carpet Bombing attack. This can manifest itself in unusually high data throughput or excessive bandwidth usage.
    • Collapse of services: If various online services or applications become unresponsive or unavailable simultaneously, this could indicate the effects of a Carpet Bombing attack.
    • Unusual traffic: Unusually large traffic consisting of many small requests may indicate such an attack. This traffic can be observed at the log or network level.
    • Log anomalies: Monitoring or log data may show anomalies in the form of an unusually large number of requests, repeated accesses from the same IP addresses, or unusual patterns.
    • Alerts from security solutions: Many security solutions, such as intrusion detection or DDoS protection systems, can trigger alarms when they detect an increase in suspicious traffic or system overload.
    • Unanticipated server costs: A carpet bombing attack can result in unexpected higher server costs as resources are needed to handle the high volume of requests.
    • Abnormal behavior patterns: Users may notice unusual delays or error messages that indicate service degradation.

    Implementing early monitoring and surveillance of IT systems to detect suspicious activity and respond appropriately is important. Should the above signs occur, it is advisable to take appropriate countermeasures to minimize the impact of the Carpet Bombing attack and restore services.

    How can a company protect itself from Carpet Bombing attacks?

    An organization can protect itself from Carpet Bombing attacks by taking proactive measures to minimize the impact of these overload attacks.

    First, invest in a DDoS protection solution that can monitor incoming traffic and detect suspicious patterns or anomalies. These solutions can filter traffic and separate legitimate traffic from malicious traffic.

    Continue implementing bandwidth management tools to manage network resources and limit malicious traffic efficiently.

    Use load-balancing solutions to distribute incoming traffic across different servers or data centers. This minimizes the impact of an attack on individual servers.

    Ensure that all applications, services, and operating systems are up to date (perform software updates). Vulnerable software can more easily become the target of carpet bombing attacks. Also, implement rate-limiting mechanisms to limit the number of allowed requests from individual IP addresses or sources.

    It may also be wise to consider using cloud-based security services that filter traffic before it reaches your network.

    Be sure to develop a contingency plan that defines clear steps and responsibilities in the event of a carpet bombing attack. This will allow your organization to respond and recover quickly.

    Internal measures include training employees on security awareness and the risks of overload attacks to minimize phishing or social engineering attacks and establishing clear lines of communication to act quickly if an attack is suspected.

    In some cases, using external hosting services for particularly critical applications or services can be a way to filter traffic before it reaches your network.

    Combining multiple protection mechanisms and taking a proactive approach is critical to effectively protect against carpet bombing attacks and strengthen the resilience of your IT infrastructure.

    Link11: Your partner in cyber security

    If you determine that carpet bombing poses a threat to the company and the services it offers, it is worth proactively implementing a specialized protection solution. Carpet Bombing attacks that are not properly defended or even undefended can cause massive damage and negatively impact companies even over a longer period of time.

    Link11 can help you implement appropriate security measures to keep you and your employees safe online. Feel free to contact us to learn how we can help you with Carpet Bombings or other cyber threats.

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