When Anonymous recently coordinated DDoS attacks against multiple websites, including the site for the U.S. Department of Justice, the collective picked up some unwitting accomplices simply by getting them to click on an innocent-looking Web link, which triggered the Low Orbit Ion Cannon tool to attack designated targets. Is this likely to be a trend going forward, and is there an effective technology or other solution that can prevent users from being compromised in this way?
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Using Web links that seem innocent so that the installation of malware is triggered is a common tactic used to attack client computers. Anonymous used this tactic to advance one of its goals: the disruption of several websites.
In previous Ask the Expert editions, I've covered how to protect users from being compromised by Web-based malware, and the same steps can be taken to help prevent enterprise users from unknowingly running the Low Orbit Ion Cannon tool. To help users avoid knowingly using the Low Orbit Ion Cannon tool, enterprises can use a security awareness message to remind them that tools like this can be traced back to the systems involved in the attack. An enterprise can also monitor the network for traffic that matches the Low Orbit Ion Cannon, alert or block the specific traffic, and then remediate the systems involved. To completely prevent systems from participating in an outgoing attack using the Low Orbit Ion Cannon or similar tools, the outgoing connections on a network can be blocked, but this could also block legitimate connections.
This was first published in August 2012