On the Impact of Low-Rate Attacks
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Recent research have exposed new breeds of attacks that are capable of denying service or inflicting significant damage to TCP flows, without sustaining the attack traffic. Such attacks are often referred to as "low-rate" attacks and they stand in sharp contrast against traditional Denial of Service (DoS) attacks that can completely shut off TCP flows by flooding an Internet link. In this paper, we study the impact of these new breeds of attacks and the extent to which defense mechanisms are capable of mitigating the attack's impact. Through adopting a simple discrete-time model with a single TCP flow and a nonoblivious adversary, we were able to expose new variants of these low-rate attacks that could potentially have high attack potency per attack burst. Our analysis is focused towards worst-case scenarios, thus our results should be regarded as upper bounds on the impact of low-rate attacks rather than a real assessment under a specific attack scenario.