Visible to the public Can a DDoS Attack Meltdown My Data Center? A Simulation Study and Defense Strategies

TitleCan a DDoS Attack Meltdown My Data Center? A Simulation Study and Defense Strategies
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsAnwar, Z., Malik, A.W.
JournalCommunications Letters, IEEE
Date PublishedJuly
Keywordscloud computing, cloud services, computer centres, Computer crime, computer network management, computer network security, Cooling, Data center communications, data center meltdown, Data models, DDoS Attack, defense strategies, distributed denial-of-service attacks, Heating, heating-ventilation-and-air-conditioning systems, HVAC, HVAC systems, Monitoring, network management protocols, network simulation, power aware computing, server downtime prevention, Servers, Temperature distribution, thermal properties

The goal of this letter is to explore the extent to which the vulnerabilities plaguing the Internet, particularly susceptibility to distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, impact the Cloud. DDoS has been known to disrupt Cloud services, but could it do worse by permanently damaging server and switch hardware? Services are hosted in data centers with thousands of servers generating large amounts of heat. Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) systems prevent server downtime due to overheating. These are remotely managed using network management protocols that are susceptible to network attacks. Recently, Cloud providers have experienced outages due to HVAC malfunctions. Our contributions include a network simulation to study the feasibility of such an attack motivated by our experiences of such a security incident in a real data center. It demonstrates how a network simulator can study the interplay of the communication and thermal properties of a network and help prevent the Cloud provider's worst nightmare: meltdown of the data center as a result of a DDoS attack.

Citation Key6825828