When an attack using a basic Internet protocol makes the news, it tends to focus on the Web, with either HTTP or DNS in a starring role. But history shows us that other protocols can be used as both weapons and doors for attacking vulnerable organizations.
Three different protocols — BGP, NTP, and FTP — are especially useful to threat actors looking to disrupt operations or steal assets from individuals and organizations. Recent incidents around cryptocurrency wallets show just how effective Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) hijacking can be as part of an attack plan. BGP’s mystery, from most users’ points of view, stems from its complexity and adds to the danger because most organizations only begin to work directly with BGP when their networks pass into the “very large” category.
Network Time Protocol (NTP) might seem like the sort of protocol that is merely convenient, allowing users to avoid listening for time announcements on the radio and typing the results into their systems, but everything from cryptography to file transfer depends on computers and network components getting authoritative time from a canonical server. This requirement makes NTP ubiquitous and valuable when it comes to wreaking havoc on a victim.