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Detection and defense of application-layer DDoS attacks in backbone web traffic

journal contribution
posted on 2014-09-01, 00:00 authored by W Zhou, W Jia, Sheng Wen, Yang Xiang, Wanlei Zhou
Web servers are usually located in a well-organized data center where these servers connect with the outside Internet directly through backbones. Meanwhile, the application-layer distributed denials of service (AL-DDoS) attacks are critical threats to the Internet, particularly to those business web servers. Currently, there are some methods designed to handle the AL-DDoS attacks, but most of them cannot be used in heavy backbones. In this paper, we propose a new method to detect AL-DDoS attacks. Our work distinguishes itself from previous methods by considering AL-DDoS attack detection in heavy backbone traffic. Besides, the detection of AL-DDoS attacks is easily misled by flash crowd traffic. In order to overcome this problem, our proposed method constructs a Real-time Frequency Vector (RFV) and real-timely characterizes the traffic as a set of models. By examining the entropy of AL-DDoS attacks and flash crowds, these models can be used to recognize the real AL-DDoS attacks. We integrate the above detection principles into a modularized defense architecture, which consists of a head-end sensor, a detection module and a traffic filter. With a swift AL-DDoS detection speed, the filter is capable of letting the legitimate requests through but the attack traffic is stopped. In the experiment, we adopt certain episodes of real traffic from Sina and Taobao to evaluate our AL-DDoS detection method and architecture. Compared with previous methods, the results show that our approach is very effective in defending AL-DDoS attacks at backbones. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.



Future generation computer systems




36 - 46


Elsevier BV


Amsterdam, Netherlands







Publication classification

C Journal article; C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2014, Elsevier BV