We all appreciate the world wide web service that we use so intricately in our lives now. From your workplace to your daily entertainment dose, we all rely on the internet. Naturally, we put enormous faith in some websites or companies to get a particular service from them. However, that also put our whole online identity of a severe threat.
Yes, the companies are spending tons of money to improve its security, but how much do we factually know about the online threats? So, in this article, we will explore the technical end of the service to enjoy every day. We will talk about Content Delivery Networks (CDN), and how it is essential for the service we get. Alongside that, we will get to know what Cache Poisoning is? And we will also learn how it can cause a denial-of-service attack (DoS).
Now the first thing that we will try to figure out is what Content Delivery Networks (CDN) is. You see, those are, first and foremost, servers that spread all across the world.
What is does is it assists the various websites to load up its contents faster. As sites can be from anywhere, the geographical distance would have resisted the speed of its contents. That is where a CDN comes handy.
It significantly improves the overall loading time of a website and eventually reduces the bandwidth cost. That is why most companies prefer to use a CDN for better customer experience.
Along with that, you can also see streaming platforms rolling in promptly today with the help of this service. So, now we know why it is essential for the internet service that we get.
What is Cache Poisoning?
As you might have guessed it, Cache Poisoning is like a data corruption procedure. It mainly hurts the Domain Name System (DNS), a server that binds the domain names of any website with an IP address. So, when you connect any device to the internet, DNS routes to any particular site you wish to access.
You can name it a DNS Cache Poisoning attack when someone sends you a malware to re-route your requested URL to a different location. Now, the new URL or site you are in is not the one you are looking for; moreover, it mainly extracts your personal information. In short, your online identity may get compromised.
Now when you have an idea of what Cache Poisoning is, we can discuss the CDN Cache Poisoning attacks a bit more. It primarily does the same thing to it does to a DNS. It corrupts the original IP address and creates a fake one.
So, when you try to reach a particular URL, it routes to a different IP and affects the server of the website. Then, the 3rd-party user gets access to the site as well as the user who is accessing the site, i.e., you.
The piece of the jigsaw puzzle is the clear understanding of the DoS attacks. A denial-of-service attack is an act when someone tries or succeeds in getting access to any particular server. That way, they can use the site for any illegal practice. They can disrupt, manipulate, and can even terminate the server or website hosted on that server.
One can succeed in a DoS attack by overloading the target computers with wicked requests, which, in layman’s term, we call malware. Once the admin unconsciously grants access to such malware, they can to a whole heap of cyber-crimes. They typically target web-servers of banks and payment gateways. However, there can be other cynical activities like blackmailing, revenge, or promoting personal agendas.
How Cache Poisoning can lead to DoS attacks?
We hope you have a preliminary idea of a CDN, Cache Poisoning attacks, and DoS attacks. Now, one these are all sorted, we will now discuss precisely the Cache-Poisoned Denial-of-Service (CPDoS) attacks. You see, it is a Cache Poisoning attack that causes a DoS. So, down below are the most common steps to perform a CPDoS:
- Assuming you are the victim, it all starts with a simple URL request containing any catchy tagline. The intermediate Cache concocts the request to lure you with lucrative offers. During this, you can see the offer texts remains the same.
- Then the Cache follows its protocol and forwards the request to the central server. As the request contains a hot offer, you accidentally grant access to the server to the attacker, either because of your greed or fear.
- The following step is automatic. The server generates an error page, and the Cache stores a record of it. On the other hand, the attacker gets to know that the CPDoS was successful as they will get a response to the error page generated at the origin server.
What Should You Do During a CPDoS Attack?
Now, amidst all these malicious activities, what can you do, being a server admin? Once you know you are in a CPDoS attack, and you have a significant part in its cause, you should immediately inform the key stakeholders. Especially to those who have prior knowledge and experience in dealing with such threats before.
The next thing to do is to inform those who deal with the security part of the server. It is your job, and the security guys to come up with the countermeasures to curtail the spread as much as possible. Remember, you can only create a defense when you analyse the threat properly. So, we suggest you give it a bit of time and have patience.
What Should You Do After a CPDoS Attack?
CPDoS can be catastrophic for the company and its customers. So, it is safe to say it will take time. However, everybody should play their part to deal with the situation better. The first step towards that is to understand the nature of the attack. Analyse why and how you are targeted and assess the damage it caused. Only then can you craft proper countermeasures.
At the same time, it is crucial to figure out the weak spots and verify the SLA of the security vendors. Now, once you and your team figure out the problem, you need to either strengthen the protocols, the Defense Programs, or maybe both.
What Can We Do to Prevent the Dos Attacks?
Everyone understands that it is better to prevent a CPDoS attack instead of finding a cure later. The first step towards that is to map the vulnerable assets of the server. Proper and timely maintenance is a priority here, and if necessary, upgrade the hardware. A surveillance team is crucial as you need to be vigilant about potential damages.
The best way to deal with Dos attacks is to cater to responsibilities and assign adept personnel who know the job. Together, it is essential to form a cohesive team that can detect the threats miles ahead. Last but not least, hire or create DoS protection. Find a permanent solution as it will let you sustain your goodwill in the market.