Study Finds DDoS Attacks Against IPv6 Networks Rising

DDoS attacks are targeting IPv6 networks for the first time since the Internet protocol started implementation last year, according to Arbor Networks' 7th Worldwide Infrastructure Security Report.

The report, which surveyed network operators, found that because the number of companies switching over to IPv6 has been growing, attackers now see them as legitimate targets worth their time. Four percent of those who took part in the survey reported that a DDoS attack had been launched against their IPv6 network at least once in the past year.

"Gone are the days when a network failure on the IPv6 Internet would be ignored and undetected because, well, no one noticed (or cared)," wrote Arbor Networks' Bill Cerveny in a blog post.

When responding to specific security concerns pertaining to IPv6, more than 60 percent of respondents picked the issue of inadequate IPv4/IPv6 features parity as a major issue. The second-most popular security concern, at 60 percent, was the lack of visibility of data.

"Many infrastructure solutions currently do not offer the same features and functionality for IPv6 as they do for IPv4," said Cerveny "This lack of feature parity means that security teams do not have the same visibility and mitigation capabilities when trying to identify and block IPv6-based attacks against targets."

The specific threat of an attacker leveraging a DDoS attack had more than 50 percent of respondents concerned. And, as John Spence at IPv6 integration firm Nephos6 explains, IPv6's security protocol is not the same as earlier versions.

"Even though IPv6 shares many security vulnerabilities with IPv4, and has some unique vulnerabilities unique to IPv6, secure network-centric service provisioning is about much more than protection for data in-flight," said Spence.

And a huge issue is that many security teams haven't had adequate training to handle the "unique vulnerabilities" of IPv6.

However, Arbor Networks predicts that, just as attacks are starting to rise against the new Internet protocol, the know-how to combat the attacks will also increase.

"But, the good news is that IPv6 deployment has reached a threshold where network engineers have become concerned about attacks on their IPv6 network infrastructure and attackers have found targets on the IPv6-enabled Internet worthy of the effort to craft and execute attacks," said Cerveny.

About the Author

Chris Paoli (@ChrisPaoli5) is the associate editor for Converge360.