An adversary may execute a flooding attack using the SSL protocol with the intent to deny legitimate users access to a service by consuming all the available resources on the server side. These attacks take advantage of the asymmetric relationship between the processing power used by the client and the processing power used by the server to create a secure connection. In this manner the attacker can make a large number of HTTPS requests on a low provisioned machine to tie up a disproportionately large number of resources on the server. The clients then continue to keep renegotiating the SSL connection. When multiplied by a large number of attacking machines, this attack can result in a crash or loss of service to legitimate users.
The table(s) below shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf, ParentOf, MemberOf and give insight to similar items that may exist at higher and lower levels of abstraction. In addition, relationships such as CanFollow, PeerOf, and CanAlsoBe are defined to show similar attack patterns that the user may want to explore.
Relevant to the view "Mechanisms of Attack" (CAPEC-1000)
Meta Attack Pattern - A meta level attack pattern in CAPEC is a decidedly abstract characterization of a specific methodology or technique used in an attack. A meta attack pattern is often void of a specific technology or implementation and is meant to provide an understanding of a high level approach. A meta level attack pattern is a generalization of related group of standard level attack patterns. Meta level attack patterns are particularly useful for architecture and design level threat modeling exercises.
This type of an attack requires the ability to generate a large amount of SSL traffic to send a target server.
To mitigate this type of an attack, an organization can create rule based filters to silently drop connections if too many are attempted in a certain time period.
CAPEC Content Team
The MITRE Corporation
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed:
July 31, 2018
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