Why you couldn’t access the internet over the weekend

Why you couldn't access the internet over the weekend

Starting this past Friday, a large part of the country were unable to access popular sites like Twitter and Netflix. What had happened is that unknown actors attacked an internet service called Dyn. To put it simply Dyn is a large backbone of the internet that handles the massive traffic to major websites. Dyn was used my so many websites that attacking Dyn is almost like attacking the entire internet.

Dyn was attacked in what’s called a denial of service attack or DDoS for short. Think of it as millions of phones trying to call the same phone number at once. Even with services like Dyn only a certain number of people can get through to a website at the same time. This could crash any website and can cause a massive amount of damages in lost business.

Normally in a DDoS attack a computer is infected with malware and whomever is pulling the strings of the malware will cause all the infected computers to send traffic to a website, unknown to the computer’s user. This new massive DDoS attack used devices from what’s called the internet of things (IoT). These devices include peripheral webcams, smart home devices like smart thermostats, or just about any other internet connected device that isn’t a cell phone, computer or tablet.

The problem is that a lot of these devices don’t have the best security installed. Many of them have easy to guess passwords that don’t even require a password to be changed when installed. Unfortunately there’s not a lot that us, the end users can do. This record-breaking attack may have come because we’ve given up on security for convenience.