DDoS attack on cloud auto-scaling mechanisms

Anat Bremler-Barr, Eli Brosh, Mor Sides

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


Auto-scaling mechanisms are an important line of defense against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) in the cloud. Using auto-scaling, machines can be added and removed in an on-line manner to respond to fluctuating load. It is commonly believed that the auto-scaling mechanism casts DDoS attacks into Economic Denial of Sustainability (EDoS) attacks. Rather than suffering from performance degradation up to a total denial of service, the victim suffers only from the economic damage incurred by paying for the extra resources required to process the bogus traffic of the attack. Contrary to this belief, we present and analyze the Yo-Yo attack, a new attack against the auto-scaling mechanism, that can cause significant performance degradation in addition to economic damage. In the Yo-Yo attack, the attacker sends periodic bursts of overload, thus causing the auto-scaling mechanism to oscillate between scale-up and scale-down phases. The Yo-Yo attack is harder to detect and requires less resources from the attacker compared to traditional DDoS. We demonstrate the attack on Amazon EC2 [4], and analyze protection measures the victim can take by reconfiguring the auto-scaling mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationINFOCOM 2017 - IEEE Conference on Computer Communications
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781509053360
StatePublished - 2 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes
Event2017 IEEE Conference on Computer Communications, INFOCOM 2017 - Atlanta, United States
Duration: 1 May 20174 May 2017

Publication series

NameProceedings - IEEE INFOCOM
ISSN (Print)0743-166X


Conference2017 IEEE Conference on Computer Communications, INFOCOM 2017
Country/TerritoryUnited States


FundersFunder number
European Research Council259085
Seventh Framework Programme


    • Auto-scaling
    • Cloud attack
    • Denial-of-service attack
    • Distributed systems security
    • Economic-Denial-of-Sustainability attack


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