August 8, 2010

Fast Flux- A DNS Technology for Phishing & Malware delivery on Internet

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Fast Flux is a DNS technique used by botnets to hide phishing and malware delivery sites behind an ever-changing network of compromised hosts acting as proxies. It can also refer to the combination of peer-to-peer networking, distributed command and control, web-based load balancing and proxy redirection used to make malware networks more resistant to discovery and counter-measures. The Storm Worm is one of the recent malware variants to make use of this technique.

Internet users may see fast flux used in phishing attacks linked to criminal organizations, including attacks on MySpace.

While security researchers have been aware of the technique since at least November 2006, the technique has only received wider attention in the security trade press starting from July 2007.

Single-flux and double-flux
The simplest type of fast flux, referred to as "single-flux", is characterized by multiple individual nodes within the network registering and de-registering their addresses as part of the DNS A (address) record list for a single DNS name. This combines round robin DNS with very short TTL (time to live) values to create a constantly changing list of destination addresses for that single DNS name. The list can be hundreds or thousands of entries long.

A more sophisticated type of fast flux, referred to as "double-flux", is characterized by multiple nodes within the network registering and de-registering their addresses as part of the DNS NS record list for the DNS zone. This provides an additional layer of redundancy and survivability within the malware network.


Within a malware attack, the DNS records will normally point to a compromised system that will act as a proxy. This method prevents some of the traditionally best defense mechanisms from working — e.g., IP-based ACLs. The method can also mask the attackers' systems, which will exploit the network through a series of proxies and make it much more difficult to identify the attackers' network. The record will normally point to an IP where bots go for registration, to receive instructions, or to activate attacks. Because the IPs are proxied, it is possible to disguise the originating source of these instructions, increasing the survival rate as IP-based block lists are put in place.

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