Early this morning, millions of panicked Americans realized they may have to be productive when suddenly their favorite social media website or news outlet was unavailable for up to an hour. As it turns out, the culprit was “an enormous cyberattack” which disrupted traffic to hundreds of websites including Twitter, Spotify, Reddit, eBay and the New York Times, particularly for internet users on the east coast of the United States.
Here your Twitter problem. (Level3 outage map) pic.twitter.com/yzqfYuH33b
— Tom Leyden (@newshawk) October 21, 2016
The attack was targeted at a New Hampshire-based company called Dyn, a DNS service that translates readable names for websites (such as zerohedge.com) into an IP address that the internet understands. “Without it, we’d all be having to type numbers into web browsers rather than the names of websites.” said security researcher Graham Cluley.
We are aware of the ongoing service interruption of our Managed DNS network. For more information visit our status page.
— Dyn (@Dyn) October 21, 2016
Dyn is one of the largest services of its kind, and its widespread outage means the companies that rely on it will be unable to load their websites. Users arriving at the pages will get an error message.
“Starting at 11:10 UTC on October 21st-Friday 2016 we began monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack against our…infrastructure,” the company said on its site. “This attack is mainly impacting US East and is impacting…customers in this region.”
Why this attack, and why now? As of this moment we don’t know, however we are confident that a Russian “involvement” will soon be revealed.
In the meantime, for those who enjoy tracking cyberwars in as they take place, here is a real-time map of internet attacks courtesy of Norsecorp.