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CAPEC-488: HTTP Flood

HTTP Flood
Definition in a New Window Definition in a New Window
Attack Pattern ID: 488
Abstraction: Standard
Status: Draft
Completeness: Stub
Presentation Filter:
+ Summary

An adversary may execute a flooding attack using the HTTP protocol with the intent to deny legitimate users access to a service by consuming resources at the application layer such as web services and their infrastructure. These attacks use legitimate session-based HTTP GET requests designed to consume large amounts of a server's resources. Since these are legitimate sessions this attack is very difficult to detect.

+ Attack Prerequisites
  • This type of an attack requires the ability to generate a large amount of HTTP traffic to send to a target server.

+ Solutions and Mitigations

To mitigate this type of an attack, an organization can monitor the typical traffic flow. When spikes in usage occur, filters could examine traffic for indicators of bad behavior with respect to the web servers, and then create firewall rules to deny the malicious IP addresses. These patterns in the filter could be a combination of trained behavior, knowledge of standards as they apply to the web server, known patterns, or anomaly detection. Firewalling source IPs works since the HTTP is sent using TCP so the source IP can't be spoofed; if the source IP is spoofed is, then it's not legitimate traffic. Special care should be taken care with rule sets to ensure low false positive rates along with a method at the application layer to allow a valid user to begin using the service again. Another possible solution is using 3rd party providers as they have experts, knowledge, experience, and resources to deal with the attack and mitigate it before hand or while it occurs. The best mitigation is preparation before an attack, but there is no bulletproof solution as with ample resources a brute force attack may succeed.

+ Technical Context
+ Content History
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation2014-06-23Internal_CAPEC_Team

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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: July 31, 2017