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Security

Attacks Have Major Internet Sites on the Ropes

As yet unidentified hackers spent much of the day assailing Dyn with an onslaught of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks. The attacks, which started at the beginning of the business day on the US East Coast, took down several prominent websites or made them grind incredibly slowly.

Dyn repelled the first attack, but just minutes after saying it had restored order, the service was overwhelmed by a second DDoS assault. The company regularly posts Internet security updates; as of midday, its most recent one read: "This DDoS attack may also be impacting Dyn Managed DNS advanced services with possible delays in monitoring. Our Engineers are continuing to work on mitigating this issue." In a subsequent post at 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time, the company said it was still investigating the attack.

Sites said to have been affected during the first attack include Twitter, Spotify, HBO Now and Reddit, among many others. While the company was fending off the second attack, its own web site was intermittently inaccessible.

Dyn is a juicy target for hackers. The company is one of the country's largest providers of DNS hosting services. Furthermore, through that business, the company has developed some formidable expertise in cybersecurity. The attackers are no doubt enjoying the irony of undermining a company that has published a book called Understanding and Mitigating DDoS Attacks.


Want to know more about Internet security, hacking, and cyberwarfare? Check out our security channel here on Light Reading.


According to a survey Dyn sponsored and published in August, the majority of companies surveyed calculate that an Internet outage costs them a minimum of $1,000 a minute.

There is still no indication of who the hackers are; at this writing, no one has claimed responsibility. There are any number of individuals who like to test their programming mettle. There are hacker groups that work in concert, occasionally professing a political motivation for their hacks.

And in recent years, cyberwarfare activity has increased. The US, China and Russia all have active programs; working directly but sometimes merely encouraging otherwise unaffiliated hacker collectives. North Korea is believed to be the source of the hack of Sony a few years back. The US intelligence community is certain that Russia is using information it has gleaned from previous hacks to deliberately meddle in the current US presidential election.

— Brian Santo, Senior Editor, Components, T&M, Light Reading

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KBode 10/24/2016 | 4:01:09 PM
Re: Update 1 I saw one claim a few days earlier that the hacking group "The Poodle Crew" said it intended to mar EA's launch of Battlefield 1 last Friday. Curious if they were actually part of the attack, or if it actually was launched to thwart something so trivial.
danielcawrey 10/24/2016 | 2:18:55 PM
Re: Connected? This just shows how vulnerable DNS is to attacks – it seems to me like it is a central point of failure for these site. 

Finding ways to better distribute DNS so it cannot be easily DDoSed should be an important step for some of these companies going forward. 
Carol Wilson 10/24/2016 | 10:45:59 AM
Re: Timing Joe,

The Level 3 warning was much more specific and timely - and was one of the first to warn of the activity in this space, so much more relevant to this discussion. 
Kelsey Ziser 10/24/2016 | 9:53:57 AM
Re: And not to put too fine a point on it... @Brian Yes, looking forward to hearing Gary Sockrider's insight on this recent attack! I'm sure Upskill U listeners will have plenty of questions for him.
Joe Stanganelli 10/24/2016 | 4:36:20 AM
Re: Timing @Michelle: It'd be interesting to see if that speaker is invited to speak again.  ;)
Joe Stanganelli 10/24/2016 | 4:34:47 AM
Re: Timing @Carol: Heck, this was predicted several years ago by the creators of the Carna Botnet.  (link: internetcensus2012.bitbucket.org/paper.html)
Joe Stanganelli 10/24/2016 | 4:26:25 AM
Re: Jaundiced view I suspect that the reason auto companies are 5+ years away from autonomous cars is in no small part because of Elon Musk and Tesla rushing the market.
Carol Wilson 10/23/2016 | 10:43:22 PM
Re: Timing Not everyone was taken by surprise - the Level 3 guys predicted this - http://www.lightreading.com/security/mobile-security/smartphone-iot-security-threats-hit-hard/d/d-id/725809
Michelle 10/23/2016 | 6:49:12 PM
Re: Update 3, 6:15pm ET We have a clear winner for this year's worst passwords!!

http://www.computerworld.com/article/3134097/security/chinese-firm-admits-its-hacked-products-were-behind-fridays-ddos-attack.html 

"Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology, a vendor behind DVRs and internet-connected cameras, said on Sunday that security vulnerabilities involving weak default passwords in its products were partly to blame."
Michelle 10/23/2016 | 6:44:53 PM
Re: Timing @Joe Next year's conference may be a little different...
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