Last Friday, the entire USA froze for hours. It is all because the nationwide outage of major websites such as New York Times or Twitter. The Americans faced the DDoS (Denial-of-Service) attacks by Mirai malware.
Last week – on 21st of October, 2016 – USA’s major DNS service supplier, Dyn, experienced a blackout.
If you are not familiar with DNS, it is a translating service enabling Internet users to reach the desired web pages by decoding their IP addresses.
The outage was caused by a DDoS attack, which means that the attacker overloaded the servers with a huge number of requests, which entirely disabled them. Because of that, major websites like Twitter, Reddit or New York Times were inaccessible for many hours.
The attack is considered to be one of the biggest in history.
How did it occur?
The attack was enabled by Mirai malware which created a botnet (interconnected network of devices infected with malware without user’s knowledge and controlled by cybercriminals) comprised of millions of devices.
It targets computers with weak security settings and this time it focused on IoT devices, which are more and more popular but their security is dwindling. Mirai botnet included routers, DVRs, webcams, etc.
What does it mean for the future?
According to experts, last week’s attack had one primary purpose – it was supposed to check providers’ vulnerability and endurance. Especially, since it is said that during last week’s event, hackers used only 10% of Mirai’s total power.
This, unfortunately, may mean that attackers are into something bigger and more harmful in the following months. Even though experts claim that blocking out the entire Internet is almost impossible, we must stay alert.