It all started on on Friday morning, October 21st at 7:10 AM and wasn’t fixed until almost 12 hours later. Dyn, a New Hamspshire-based company that monitors and routes Internet Traffic, was the victim of a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS). This same issue affected East Coast users from accessing Twitter, Spotify, Netflix, Amazon, Tumblr, Reddit, PayPal and other sites. DDoS attacks flood servers with so many fake requests for information that they cannot respond to real ones, often crashing under the barrage. It’s unclear who orchestrated the attack.
The most troubling fact was that the attackers relied on an easy-to-use program called Mirai. This system allows even unskilled hackers to take over online devices and use them to launch DDoS attacks. The software uses phishing emails to first infect a computer or home network and then spreads everything on it. Dyn is getting “tens of millions” of messages from around the globe sent by seemingly harmless but Internet-connected devices. Kyle York, Dyn’s chief strategy officer said “It could be your DVR, it could be a CCTV camera, a thermostat. I even saw an Internet-connected toaster on Kickstarter Yesterday,” said York.