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CAPEC-488: HTTP Flood

Attack Pattern ID: 488
Abstraction: Standard
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+ Description
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.
+ Relationships
Section HelpThis table shows the other attack patterns and high level categories that are related to this attack pattern. These relationships are defined as ChildOf and ParentOf, 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.
ChildOfMeta Attack PatternMeta 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.125Flooding
Section HelpThis table shows the views that this attack pattern belongs to and top level categories within that view.
+ Prerequisites
This type of an attack requires the ability to generate a large amount of HTTP traffic to send to a target server.
+ Mitigations
Design: Use a Web Application Firewall (WAF) to help filter out malicious traffic. This can be setup with rules to block IP addresses found in IP reputation databases, which contains lists of known bad IP addresses. Analysts should also monitor when the traffic flow becomes abnormally large, and be able to add on-the-fly rules to block malicious traffic. Special care should be taken to ensure low false positive rates in block rules and functionality should be implemented to allow a legitimate user to resume sending traffic if they have been blocked.
Hire a third party provider to implement a Web Application Firewall (WAF) for your application. Third party providers have dedicated resources and expertise that could allow them to update rules and prevent HTTP Floods very quickly.
Design: Use a load balancer such as nginx to prevent small scale HTTP Floods by dispersing traffic between a group of servers.
Implementation: Make a requesting machine solve some kind of challenge before allowing them to send an HTTP request. This could be a captcha or something similar that works to deter bots.
+ Taxonomy Mappings
Section HelpCAPEC mappings to ATT&CK techniques leverage an inheritance model to streamline and minimize direct CAPEC/ATT&CK mappings. Inheritance of a mapping is indicated by text stating that the parent CAPEC has relevant ATT&CK mappings. Note that the ATT&CK Enterprise Framework does not use an inheritance model as part of the mapping to CAPEC.
Relevant to the ATT&CK taxonomy mapping (also see parent)
Entry IDEntry Name
1499.002Endpoint Denial of Service:Service Exhaustion Flood
+ References
[REF-751] "HTTP Flood Attack". <>. URL validated: 2023-01-20.
+ Content History
Submission DateSubmitterOrganization
(Version 2.6)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Modification DateModifierOrganization
(Version 3.1)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Related_Weaknesses
(Version 3.3)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Taxonomy_Mappings
(Version 3.5)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Taxonomy_Mappings
(Version 3.8)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Taxonomy_Mappings
(Version 3.9)
CAPEC Content TeamThe MITRE Corporation
Updated Mitigations, References
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Page Last Updated or Reviewed: July 31, 2018