Hackers performed a massive cyber attack in the U.S. and took down a vast number of Websites Dyn, a company responsible for routing Internet traffic, reported Friday a large-scale cyber attack that affected several websites across the United States. Twitter, Spotify, Netflix, SoundCloud,
The New York Times, The Boston Globe and many other sites were filled with what is known as junk traffic, which caused extremely low connections and was produced by a malware known as Mirai.
The Department of Homeland Security is currently investigating the massive cyber attack, which was reported around 4 a.m. PDT. Dyn informed that the service had returned to normality by 6:30 a.m. before it was attacked again around 11 a.m.
The firm serves as a directory that connects Web addresses to specific numeric codes known as IP addresses. Computers communicate with each other through IPs, and Mirai’s effect was so widespread because many companies rely on Dyn’s service.
This malware scans the internet for devices with weak security, which means that they have factory default or static username and password combinations, as reported by The Verge. The next step is to seize control of those gadgets, so they become an army in charge of overloading servers and networks, resulting in slow speeds and total shutdowns in some cases.
Hackers, who are tough to identify, used a very aggressive method called “distributed denial of service” (DDoS). The scenario this method creates is similar to a thousand of people showing up at an iStore simultaneously to buy Apple accessories. This would make it impossible for other customers who wanted to purchase iPhones to enter the store.
Dyn was targeted mainly because it is one of the largest pieces of online infrastructure in the U.S. and this allowed hackers to take down a large number of sites. This firm plays a significant role regarding communication with Internet browsers as it translates a Web address into the numeric code that corresponds to each Web page. Hackers targeting this company can simultaneously take down a large number of websites.
Vince Berk, chief executive of FlowTraq, told the Los Angeles Times that DDoS is a method that is on the rise as security experts improve their ways to keep threats at bay. Berk described a DDoS attack as the “crudest form of an attack you can perpetrate,” according to the newspaper’s website.
It is common among hackers who carry out this kind of cyber attacks to threaten to clog up the victim’s site with tons of junk traffic unless the affected organization pays a bribe. Others just want to gain notoriety or troll the sites they take down.
Concern about cyber security has significantly increased across the country. Anyone can become a victim of a cyber attack, including the Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Private emails of her campaign chairman were released earlier this month by WikiLeaks. Russian hackers were reportedly the group responsible for this attack. However, hacking an email server is considerably more targeted than an attack based on the DDoS method.
Source: LA Times