Resource Depletion through Flooding
Attack Pattern ID: 125 (Standard Attack Pattern Completeness: Stub)Typical Severity: MediumStatus: Draft
+ Description


An attacker consumes the resources of a target by rapidly engaging in a large number of interactions with the target. This type of attack generally exposes a weakness in rate limiting or flow control in management of interactions. Since each request consumes some of the target's resources, if a sufficiently large number of requests must be processed at the same time then the target's resources can be exhausted.

The degree to which the attack is successful depends upon the volume of requests in relation to the amount of the resource the target has access to, and other mitigating circumstances such as the target's ability to shift load or acquired additional resources to deal with the depletion. The more protected the resource and the greater the quantity of it that must be consumed, the more resources the attacker may need to have at their disposal. A typical TCP/IP flooding attack is a Distributed Denial-of-Service attack where many machines simultaneously make a large number of requests to a target. Against a target with strong defenses and a large pool of resources, many tens of thousands of attacking machines may be required.

When successful this attack prevents legitimate users from accessing the service and can cause the target to crash. This attack differs from resource depletion through leaks or allocations in that the latter attacks do not rely on the volume of requests made to the target but instead focus on manipulation of the target's operations. The key factor in a flooding attack is the number of requests the attacker can make in a given period of time. The greater this number, the more likely an attack is to succeed against a given target.

+ Attack Prerequisites

Any target that services requests is vulnerable to this attack on some level of scale.

+ Resources Required

A script or program capable of generating more requests than the target can handle, or a network or cluster of objects all capable of making simultaneous requests.

+ Related Weaknesses
CWE-IDWeakness NameWeakness Relationship Type
404Improper Resource Shutdown or ReleaseTargeted
770Allocation of Resources Without Limits or ThrottlingTargeted
+ Related Attack Patterns
NatureTypeIDNameDescriptionView(s) this relationship pertains toView\(s\)
ChildOfCategoryCategory119Resource Depletion 
Mechanism of Attack (primary)1000