Epic hack attack takes down the internet


Hackers deployed “new weapons” to launch one of the worst attacks ever seen in internet history when they brought down a service which routes traffic to some of the world’s most popular websites.

The distributed denial of service attack cut off the services of a company called Dyn, which in turn affected Twitter, Pinterest, Github, PayPal, Netflix, Spotify, Airbnb, Reddit, eBay, Etsy, SoundCloud and the New York Times.

The geographical extent of the hack stretched from the east coast of the US right across to the west coast, with tens of millions of people affected.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security are looking into the hack and potential causes may include criminal activity and nation-state espionage, according to the New York Times, which says the hackers used “new weapons” in the attack, although it did not specify what those new weapons were – although it’s likely it meant internet of things devices.

The involvement of the authorities is probably why Dyn has yet to issue a detailed statement as to what is going on, but VentureBeat.com claims there has been more than one attack on the company.

However, Dyn’s status page included an update a couple of days ago, saying: “Our engineers continue to investigate and mitigate several attacks aimed against the Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure.”

It later added: “This incident has been resolved.”

As well as disrupting the services of dozens of leading websites, another worrying aspect of the Dyn DDoS attack was that the hackers took control of “tens of millions” of IoT devices and combined their communications and sent all their data requests to Dyn, overloading its servers and eventually bringing them down.

This is according to HackRead.com, which adds that the entire internet was “was almost taken down” by the attack.

Meanwhile, across the Atlantic, in the UK, the British Ministry of Defence last week told Newsweek that it fends off “thousands of cyber attacks every day”.

An increasing number of organisations and companies have been targeted by the hackers, and there seems no way to completely stop them.

This means the issue of security has apparently become the number-one concern for information technology professionals, and O’Reilly Media is looking to address the matter at Security conference in Amsterdam in a couple of weeks.