Yesterday morning as Americans around the country got prepared for their final weekday at work many quickly realized our internet infrastructure was down. As for myself, after repeatedly searching and finding no solution to the cause of each and every clients websites being down, I was left utterly clueless as to what had taken place. Soon the websites that did remain online started reporting information of the cause of a nationwide DDoS attack taking place.
A DDoS attack or Direct Denial of Services is a very common hacker technique that is used to bring down websites. In short a DDoS is when hackers send massive amounts of requests to a server that ultimately takes the server down and the sites hosted on it with it. The unique thing about this DDoS attack compared to most DDoS attacks it that it was targeted against Dyn servers.
Dyn is located in Manchester, New Hampshire. Dyn is a unique company for the web in that they basically connect websites DNS names with a website IP's. This gets a bit complicated but it short it is basically how domain names become readable as opposed to hard to read number addresses or commonly called IPs.
While the severity of the attack is still underway, this attack raises a much larger question. Is our countries internet and the connected infrastructure safe in todays age? After yesterday clearly the answer is no. It's a scary realization for most involved in security. If a common hacking technique such as a DDoS can take down half the internet in such a short period of time, what else can potentially happen and is it even possible to be safe in today's technological state?
Moving forward web technologies, national security and the American people need to realize we are living in a age where we are vulnerable to not just external attacks but internal attacks. Yesterday it was websites, tomorrow it could potentially be our power grids, our nuclear facilities, our aviation technology and the list goes on.
The sources of the attack are still under investigation by the FBI an national security but clearly the damage has already been done. Whether it was a nation state that attacked (which is possible given it mainly effected the United States) or it was rouge hacking groups, we must now come to the realization that after yesterday we are in a new age of global security.