Network Denial of Service: Direct Network Flood

ID Name
T1498.001 Direct Network Flood
T1498.002 Reflection Amplification

Adversaries may attempt to cause a denial of service (DoS) by directly sending a high-volume of network traffic to a target. Direct Network Flood are when one or more systems are used to send a high-volume of network packets towards the targeted service's network. Almost any network protocol may be used for flooding. Stateless protocols such as UDP or ICMP are commonly used but stateful protocols such as TCP can be used as well.

Botnets are commonly used to conduct network flooding attacks against networks and services. Large botnets can generate a significant amount of traffic from systems spread across the global Internet. Adversaries may have the resources to build out and control their own botnet infrastructure or may rent time on an existing botnet to conduct an attack. In some of the worst cases for distributed DoS (DDoS), so many systems are used to generate the flood that each one only needs to send out a small amount of traffic to produce enough volume to saturate the target network. In such circumstances, distinguishing DDoS traffic from legitimate clients becomes exceedingly difficult. Botnets have been used in some of the most high-profile DDoS flooding attacks, such as the 2012 series of incidents that targeted major US banks.[1]

ID: T1498.001
Sub-technique of:  T1498
Tactic: Impact
Platforms: AWS, Azure, Azure AD, GCP, Linux, Office 365, SaaS, Windows, macOS
Data Sources: Netflow/Enclave netflow, Network device logs, Network intrusion detection system, Network protocol analysis, Sensor health and status
Impact Type: Availability
Version: 1.0
Created: 02 March 2020
Last Modified: 29 March 2020


Mitigation Description
Filter Network Traffic

When flood volumes exceed the capacity of the network connection being targeted, it is typically necessary to intercept the incoming traffic upstream to filter out the attack traffic from the legitimate traffic. Such defenses can be provided by the hosting Internet Service Provider (ISP) or by a 3rd party such as a Content Delivery Network (CDN) or providers specializing in DoS mitigations.[2]

Depending on flood volume, on-premises filtering may be possible by blocking source addresses sourcing the attack, blocking ports that are being targeted, or blocking protocols being used for transport.[2]

As immediate response may require rapid engagement of 3rd parties, analyze the risk associated to critical resources being affected by Network DoS attacks and create a disaster recovery plan/business continuity plan to respond to incidents.[2]


Detection of a network flood can sometimes be achieved before the traffic volume is sufficient to cause impact to the availability of the service, but such response time typically requires very aggressive monitoring and responsiveness or services provided by an upstream network service provider. Typical network throughput monitoring tools such as netflow[3], SNMP, and custom scripts can be used to detect sudden increases in network or service utilization. Real-time, automated, and qualitative study of the network traffic can identify a sudden surge in one type of protocol can be used to detect a network flood event as it starts. Often, the lead time may be small and the indicator of an event availability of the network or service drops. The analysis tools mentioned can then be used to determine the type of DoS causing the outage and help with remediation.