DDoS attack cripples popular services

Are attacks like the one today going to become the norm? 

A multi-waved cyber assault Friday morning on DNS provider Dyn left many without access to their favorite websites and applications. Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks are not a new thing, but the attack this week highlighted the advancing sophistication of modern attackers. Gamers are becoming ever more used to these attacks, but this attack reached many other aspects of digital life.

This attack was not merely focused on taking down a single site, but rather a DNS provider. DNS providers help users connect to requested websites.In a statement released my Dyn summarizing the incident, Chief Strategy Officer Kyle York explains the sheer size of the attack when he wrote, “this was a sophisticated, highly distributed attack involving 10s of millions of IP addresses.” (You can read the entire statement HERE)

The attack caused issues with services ranging from Twitter and Netflix to PayPal, PlayStation Network and more. (You can see the Gizmodo article with a more comprehensive list HERE)

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The Mirai botnet was involved in the attack today and involved more than just computers. This source code allows for the use of other smart devices such as webcams, appliances, and even DVRs to take part in the attack.

York continued, “We can confirm, with the help of analysis from Flashpoint and Akamai, that one source of the traffic for the attacks were devices infected by the Mirai botnet. We observed 10s of millions of discrete IP addresses associated with the Mirai botnet that were part of the attack.”

Modern gamers are becoming more and more accustomed to DDoS attacks against game service providers. PlayStation Network and Blizzard’s Battle.Net service are frequent targets. There are often reports of attacks against other studios, especially when there are new games released. (Coincidentally Battlefield 1 came out Friday.)

 

The question is whether this will become the new norm as users become increasingly reliant on connected devices and the proliferation of smart devices such as washing machines continues.  Bruce Schneier, writer of the blog, Schneier on Security, states in a September article that attackers are quietly attempting to feel out the defenses of providers such as Dyn.

Schneier explains, “Recently, some of the major companies that provide the basic infrastructure that makes the Internet work have seen an increase in DDoS attacks against them. Moreover, they have seen a certain profile of attacks. These attacks are significantly larger than the ones they’re used to seeing. They last longer. They’re more sophisticated. And they look like probing.” (You can read the entire post HERE)

It appears that things have stabilized for now, but when the next attack will occur and how large it will be is unknown. Gamers know all too well how disruptive these attacks can be to daily life. Friday’s attack had such a wide breadth that it might have caused others to now take notice of these possible issues so that hopefully providers can better prepare to mitigate attacks in the future.

Were you caught up in the attack? Are you sick of DDoS attacks and want to vent? Let us know in the comments below!

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