Mitigating a Botnet-Driven DDoS Attack on a Fortune 500 Company

Key Challenges:

  • A targeted Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack was launched by Botnets by flooding a series of HTTP requests against their application.
  • The volume of this HTTP Flooding attack was 3000X – 14000X higher than the usual requests/min received on the site, and the attack used around 8 million unique IPs for 14 days.
  • Rate-limiting could only counter some DDoS attacks, as some IPs were sending only one request per minute and there’s no way to set the rate-limit to such a low level
  • This high volume of traffic on the application led to slowness, increase bandwidth consumption, and disrupted legitimate users to access the services.
  • This attack was unique because most were targeted on the base URLs, which were either non-existent or not publicly exposed
    (e.g.,/404, /admin, /config).
  • Identifying the traces of vulnerability exploitation was also challenging, as there was no attack payload related to any platforms and no cookie details.
  • The majority of attacks were seen to be coming from Android-based mobile devices using various data centers, anonymous proxies,Tor IPs, and IPs with bad reputation.

Strategy & Recommended Solution

Indusface reviewed all these details and strategically deployed a solution to address the above problem. Deployed custom policies to bring down these attacks to zero.

URI Blacklisting Policy:

All external requests to URLs that were not meant for public access were blocked. Only internal teams with specific internal IP addresses were permitted to access them.

Rate-Limiting Rules:

  • IP-based rate limiting threshold was updated to 100 req/min & blocking duration as 60 mins.
  • Implemented a rule to block an IP for a week if it accesses ‘/’ URL more than 20 times in a minute.

Custom Rule to Allow Requests Only from Browsers

The system detected non-browser or headless requests when a WAF cookie was absent. The system only granted access to the origin when the request contained the WAF cookie.

Geo-Fencing Rules:

Block suspicious traffic from Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan as some requests were seen from these locations, the customer didn’t have any scope for business in these locations.

Increased The Tolerance for Bot modules

  • Updated tolerance level from High to Low.
  • Enabled additional modules to detect and block requests concerning Tor nodes & data centers.

Deployed Custom Rules to Block Anonymous Proxy

A rule was implemented to detect and block harmful bot requests attempting to access the blacklisted URIs. This was done by analyzing the trend of attack requests over a period of time.

  • Successfully blocked all the bot traffic at the WAF level, and valid business users were forwarded to the application server.
  • Users faced no lag in the website’s usage and witnessed zero service disruptions.
  • Saved thousands of dollars in additional bandwidth expenditure over the 14-day period


Log/Block chart :

Log or Block Mode

Incoming requests chart :

Incoming Requests


Solution Highlights: 

  1. DDoS attacks were carried out from 8 million unique IPs for 14 days 
  2. The DDoS attack traffic ranged from 3000X – 14000X, the usual daily traffic 
  3. 100% availability ensured while saving thousands of dollars in additional bandwidth expenditure  

About The Customer:

The customer is a Fortune 500 company with a presence in over 30 countries and has been running its businesses in a wide range of sectors for over 5+ decades. 
The website provides details on various commodities that could be traded in bulk on a global scale. 


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