The FBI and Department of Homeland Security are currently investigating why the world’s favorite sites went down. This massive cyber attack downed or slowed access to sites like Twitter, Amazon, and Spotify, reports the LA Times.
It took 11 hours after the cyber attack for the company to restore its service to the websites that were affected. The company that was affected, Dyn, is a New Hampshire company that monitors and helps route traffic to major sites in the United States. They were the victim of a massive attack that began at 7:00 am EST, and many users on the East Coast were unable to access sites including PayPal, Reddit, Twitter, and Amazon, reports USA Today.
Dyn reported later that same day that they had resolved the issue, says USA Today.
This incident is not a shock to some. In fact, The Daily Beast highlights how in September 2016, it was reported that hackers would probe the internet for soft spots and eventually, find ways to take down the entire internet. Many ignored these warnings and considered them unrealistic, until the cyber attack of October 2016.
The Irony Of The Situation
Dyn is a company that is designed to help mitigate DNS (Denial of Service) attacks on major websites. Therefore, it was ironic that the firm was the target of a cyber attack, reports The Daily Beast. The company received more than 1,000 GBs of DNS traffic per second, which is more bandwidth than most countries in the world have.
The amount of traffic sent to the company is what eventually brought it down and overwhelmed their servers. How it works is the DDoS attacks will flood the servers of the target website, which then makes it impossible for the company to respond to real traffic requests; thus, slowing or stopping sites altogether, reports USA Today.
DNS attacks are nothing new to the United States or the world. It is a popular way for hackers to bring down websites. It is a costly and difficult thing to protect companies from too, and there are only a handful on the internet that can defend themselves from DNS attacks, reports The Daily Beast.
Hackers Using Novice Technology
What is upsetting is the fact that these hackers accessed Dyn through Mirai, a very easy-to-use program that allows even novice-level hackers to take over devices, reports USA Today.
Worse, the hackers used internet-connected devices to bring down Dyn’s servers, reports The LA Times. They gained access through devices such as DVRs and CCTV cameras that have poor internet security, says The Daily Beast. By using these vulnerable devices, it was easier for hackers to gain access and send their attacks.
The LA Times reports that investigators do know who was behind the assault, but they are not releasing this information yet. Many of these DNS attacks are used to bribe websites into paying a large sum of money before the hackers will release the site.