Pro-Russia Hacker Group NoName Launched a DDoS Attack on Canadian Airports Causing Severe Disruption

Cyber Security Threat Summary:
Pro-Russia hacker group NoName is suspected of launching a DDoS cyberattack that caused significant disruptions at several Canadian airports. The attack affected check-in kiosks and electronic gates, leading to delays in the processing of arrivals at border checkpoints across the country. The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) confirmed the DDoS attack and is investigating the incident, assuring that no personal information has been compromised. No evidence of a data breach has been found at this time.

NoName057, the hacking group, claimed responsibility for launching DDoS attacks on various Canadian organizations, including CBSA. However, CBSA has not officially attributed the attack to this group. NoName057 stated that their DDoS campaign is in response to Canada's support for Ukraine.

The Canadian Centre for Cyber Security issued an alert warning of multiple DDoS campaigns targeting various sectors within the Government of Canada, as well as the financial and transportation sectors, since September 13, 2023. The alert aims to raise awareness of these campaigns and provide guidance for organizations that may be targeted by malicious activity.

Security Officer Comments:
This DDoS attack on Canadian airports by the Pro-Russia group NoName is a concerning development. While the Canada Border Services Agency was able to mitigate the attack relatively quickly, it highlights the vulnerability of critical infrastructure to cyber threats. It's crucial for organizations and governments to continuously strengthen their cybersecurity measures to defend against such attacks.

Suggested Correction(s):
DDoS attacks pose a significant challenge for defense because it's challenging to differentiate between legitimate and malicious packets. Typically, DDoS attacks exploit either bandwidth or application vulnerabilities.

There are several methods to counter DDoS attacks:

  • Sinkholing: In this strategy, all incoming traffic is redirected to a "sinkhole" where it's discarded. However, this approach has a drawback as it eliminates both legitimate and malicious traffic, resulting in a loss of actual customers for the business.
  • Routers and Firewalls: Routers can help by filtering out nonessential protocols and invalid IP addresses, but they become less effective when a botnet employs spoofed IP addresses. Firewalls face similar challenges when dealing with IP address spoofing.
  • Intrusion-Detection Systems (IDS): These solutions employ machine learning to identify patterns and automatically block traffic through a firewall. While powerful, they may require manual adjustments to avoid false positives.
  • DDoS Mitigation Appliances: Various vendors offer devices designed to sanitize traffic through techniques like load balancing and firewall blocking. However, their effectiveness varies, as they may block legitimate traffic and allow some malicious traffic to pass through.
  • Over-provisioning: Some organizations opt for extra bandwidth to manage sudden traffic spikes during DDoS attacks. Often, this additional bandwidth is outsourced to a service provider who can scale up during an attack. However, as attacks grow in scale, this mitigation approach may become less cost-effective.
    • These methods represent different strategies organizations employ to defend against DDoS attacks, each with its advantages and limitations.