The attack affected popular websites like Twitter, Reddit and Spotify. (Flickr / CC 2.0)
A large-scale cyber attack hit one of America’s largest Domain Name Servers (DNS) providers on Friday morning, temporarily shutting down websites like Reddit, Twitter and Spotify. Gizmodo reports that “the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) are investigating the massive distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) hitting the DNS provider Dyn.
Reuters reported earlier Friday morning that the attack was “mainly affecting users on the U.S. East Coast.” It continues:
Dyn said it had resolved one attack, which disrupted operations for about two hours, but disclosed a second attack a few hours later that was causing further disruptions.
In addition to the social network Twitter and music-streamer Spotify, the discussion site Reddit, hospitality booking service Airbnb and The Verge news site were among companies whose services were disrupted on Friday.
Amazon.com Inc’s web services division, one of the world’s biggest cloud computing companies, also reported a related outage, which it said was resolved early Friday afternoon.
Dyn is a Manchester, New Hampshire-based provider of services for managing domain name servers (DNS), which act as switchboards connecting internet traffic. Requests to access sites are transmitted through DNS servers that direct them to computers that host websites.
Gizmodo also provides a brief explanation of DNS technology:
The sheer scale of the attack is due to the target: one of America’s biggest DNS hosts. Domain Name Servers, or DNS, act as a directory for the internet. DNS servers are what allow visitors who type in gizmodo.com to be routed to the correct server where that fine website is hosted. Dyn is a major player in the DNS game, so an attack on its systems was bound to cause major outages.
Stay tuned for updates on this story.
—Posted by Emma Niles