Forbes’ Thomas Fox-Brewster recently reported on a DDoS-for-hire tool. For $7500, anyone who wanted to cause a little online mayhem could rent an army of 100,000 bots. Its controllers boasted that the Mirai-based botnet could unleash attacks of 1 Terabit per second or more.
Now there’s a new DDoS service that’s powered by four times as many bots. 400,000 of anything sounds like a lot, but how big is that in botnet terms? A security researcher who goes by the handle MalwareTech told Bleeping Computer’s Catalin Cimpanu that this new Mirai botnet is larger than all other the Mirai botnets combined. It’s being actively promoted on the Dark Web, and its handlers are even willing to give free demonstrations of its considerable capabilities to potential customers.
You don’t have to rent all 400,000 bots if you don’t want to. A customer can specify how many bots they want to rent for an attack, the duration of the attack, and the length of the “cool-down period” they’re willing to accept so the bots don’t get overtaxed. Prices are adjusted accordingly, a Bitcoin payment is made, and customers are given an Onion URL to access the botnet’s controls so they can launch their attack. Access to a service like this doesn’t come cheap. Cimpanu was quoted $3,000 to $4,000 to utilize 50,000 bots for a two-week attack with 1-hour bursts and a 5-10 minute cool-down.
Apart from the massive number of bots this Mirai botnet has at its disposal, Cimpanu notes something else that differentiates it from the others. This botnet has the ability to circumvent certain DDoS mitigation techniques. Its creators have given it the ability to broadcast fake IP addresses, which makes the attacks much more difficult to disrupt.
It also has one prominent attack under its belt already: the one last month that targeted a mobile telecom provider’s network in Liberia. Though reports after the fact showed that the whole country was not ever knocked completely offline, this botnet definitely seems to have the capacity to make that happen. Aimed at the right servers, a fraction of its 400,000 bots can cause widespread disruptions.
Just look at what a single gamer with money to burn and an axe to grind with the Playstation Network did to Internet users all over the east coast this month.