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What is a Slowloris Attack? Prevention and Protective Measures

what is a slowloris attack

Developed by the grey-hat hacker- RSnake, the Slowloris attack is a type of DDoS attack. This Denial of Service attack exploits partial HTTP requests to slow down the target. The HTTP requests are used to keep the connections between the targeted web server and the victim’s computer open for a long time. 

A Slowloris attack can work on a short bandwidth and only aims at the targeted web server, it does not do any harm to other connected servers and ports. The main targets of this destructive attack are Apache 1.x and 2.x. 

Slowloris Attack | What Are The Prominent Signs

Here are some of the most common signs the attack

  • As the name implies, the attack is highly slow and methodological.
  • Several incomplete HTTP requests are sent to the targeted server. Here the server opens more connections to facilitate the completion of requests making it more vulnerable.
  • This overflows the server’s sockets capacity leaving no space for legitimate connection requests. 
  • All-in-all the major impact of the attack lies in making the web server incapable of receiving legit requests.

How Dangerous Is A Slowloris Attack? 

  • The chances of detection of a Slowloris attack are quite low. Since the attack takes place by sending partial packets which are not corrupted, it can easily bypass the security walls of any antivirus program.
  • Slowloris keeps on reinitiating the attack until it overwhelms the targeted server.
  • Apart from this it also prevents file creation while in turn prevents any red-flags to appear.
  • It can also send multiple host headers to the targeted host to avoid detection.

Tips to Prevent Slowloris Attack

Here are few simple prevention tips that can help you stay protected from such a cyber-threat

  • Limit the time of connection a specific client can stay connected to the web server.
  • Please require checks and restrictions on the connection’s minimum transfer speed.
  • Apart from this limitation, the number of connections for a particular IP will also help mitigate this attack.
  • The benchmark for the maximum number of clients on a web server should also be increased. 
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