Friday’s DDoS Attack – Here’s What Happened

It made the headlines this weekend. You may have experienced slowdowns on the job, or downtime on your own website. You knew the “internet was hacked,” to put is loosely. But what really happened? Why did it happen? And what does it mean? 

First, it’s important to understand that there are a variety of types of malware, and they evolve as the landscape of technology evolves. This particular attack is called a DDoS attack.  

What is a DDoS attack? 

A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is a brutal cyber-aggression, and a damaging one, left unmitigated. This type of malware attack happens when a source (sometimes a botnet) attempts to make an online service unavailable for users to send, receive, publish, or access information. They do this by sending data packets, overwhelming the site(s) with traffic from a multitude of sources.  

Why did the attack on Friday happen? 

The attack on Friday affected hundreds of thousands of websites, including prominent sites such as Netflix, Twitter, Spotify, Amazon, Paypal, and many others. It caused temporary panic amongst companies and users alike.  

The attack targeted a major internet traffic company, Dyn, which said that Internet of Things devices, such as wearables and DVRs, are partially responsible for the vulnerability that led to the attack on their Managed DNS network. Mirai botnet malware (known to target IoT) has been linked to the incident. Earlier this month, “Anna_Senpai,” a hacker largely responsible for Marai malware, released the source code online, allowing copycat hackers access to create their own botnets to launch additional attacks. The depth of the links between previous attacks using Marai malware and this one are unclear.  

What does this mean for the future of cyber security? 

Although Friday’s incident with Dyn has been resolved, it’s a significant indicator of what can be expected as IoT tech continues to integrate into our daily lives. The motivation of the attacker is unclear, and still under investigation by the Department of Homeland Security.  

You can be assured, this isn’t the first time, and certainly isn’t the last. The web’s infrastructure is not as bullet-proof as we would like to imagine. This attack is a prime example of why companies should take their cyber security seriously, and invest in the safekeeping of their data with the right technology partner.       


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