Large sections of the U.S. were subjected to coordinated cyberattacks that left millions of people unable to access heavily trafficked sites on Friday, as Netflix, Spotify, Twitter, Etsy, and Airbnb were unable to be accessed for hours.
The cyberhackers pinpointed their attack on the New Hampshire based company Dyn, which monitors and maintains internet infrastructure and routes web traffic. The company servers were subjected to denial of service attacks, referred to as DDoS.
“It’s a very smart attack. We start to mitigate, they react. It keeps on happening every time. We’re learning though,” Dyn’s chief strategy officer, Kyle York, said on a media conference call Friday afternoon.
The outages started around 7 a.m. EST. By 9:30 a.m., Dyn had restored services, but their servers were attacked again in waves throughout the day. The eastern U.S. was first to feel the effects, followed by other swathes of the country. Although the DDoS attacks primarily targeted the U.S., parts of Europe also had outages. The hackers were able to carry out the sophisticated strike by targeting home devices.
The hackers responsible for the cyberinvasion are still unknown. Experts are now seeking to find the motivation behind the barrage. Some are hypothesizing that the attack was just a small example of what consumers can expect in the future.
One theory is that the hack was test, or trial run, since experts say it appears that no information was stolen.
“The purpose behind their attack is also very vague since nothing was stolen,” said Al Jazeera’s Rob Reynolds. “It was just disruptive, so some people are theorizing that someone is trying to figure out how to shut down the internet.”
WikiLeaks has implied that possibly that one of their supporters is behind the Friday outages.
Mr. Assange is still alive and WikiLeaks is still publishing. We ask supporters to stop taking down the US internet. You proved your point. pic.twitter.com/XVch196xyL
— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) October 21, 2016
The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI are both investigating Friday’s cybercrimes.
[USA Today] [New York Times] [Al Jazeera] [Photo courtesy of Michael Bocchieri/ Getty Images via The New Yorker].