Kubernetes Autoscaling: YoYo Attack Vulnerability and Mitigation

Ronen Ben David, Anat Bremler Barr

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


In recent years, we have witnessed a new kind of DDoS attack, the burst attack(Chai, 2013; Dahan, 2018), where the attacker launches periodic bursts of traffic overload on online targets. Recent work presents a new kind of Burst attack, the YoYo attack (Bremler-Barr et al., 2017) that operates against the auto-scaling mechanism of VMs in the cloud. The periodic bursts of traffic loads cause the auto-scaling mechanism to oscillate between scale-up and scale-down phases. The auto-scaling mechanism translates the flat DDoS attacks into Economic Denial of Sustainability attacks (EDoS), where the victim suffers from economic damage accrued by paying for extra resources required to process the traffic generated by the attacker. However, it was shown that YoYo attack also causes significant performance degradation since it takes time to scale-up VMs. In this research, we analyze the resilience of Kubernetes auto-scaling against YoYo attacks. As containerized cloud applications using Kubernetes gain popularity and replace VM-based architecture in recent years. We present experimental results on Google Cloud Platform, showing that even though the scale-up time of containers is much lower than VM, Kubernetes is still vulnerable to the YoYo attack since VMs are still involved. Finally, we evaluate ML models that can accurately detect YoYo attack on a Kubernetes cluster.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCLOSER 2021 - Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Cloud Computing and Services Science
EditorsMarkus Helfert, Donald Ferguson, Claus Pahl
PublisherScience and Technology Publications, Lda
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9789897585104
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes
Event11th International Conference on Cloud Computing and Services Science, CLOSER 2021 - Virtual, Online
Duration: 28 Apr 202130 Apr 2021

Publication series

NameInternational Conference on Cloud Computing and Services Science, CLOSER - Proceedings
ISSN (Electronic)2184-5042


Conference11th International Conference on Cloud Computing and Services Science, CLOSER 2021
CityVirtual, Online


  • Containers
  • Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS)
  • Economic Denial of Sustainability (EDoS)
  • Kubernetes


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