30 October, 2016
According to Wired magazine, Dyn, a website domain managing company that also routes Internet traffic, was hit with two distributed denial of service attacks on its Domain Name System servers.
It confirmed that "one source of the traffic for the attacks were devices infected by the Mirai botnet", disruptive software deployed most recently against Krebs on Security and foreign intelligence services, according to Flashpoint.
Jason Read, of internet performance monitoring firm CloudHarmony, said his company tracked a half-hour-long disruption in which roughly half of all end users would have found it impossible to access various websites.
A coordinated botnet attack effectively choked internet access to a large number of popular sites last week, and the attack itself was made possible in large part due to the spread of connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The groups have also reportedly taken credit in the past for high-profile attacks they did not perform.
The effects were intermittent and numerous details remain scarce, although the first attack primarily affected users on the East Coast, according to Dyn.
Such attacks have been around for many years, sometimes linked to criminals looking for blackmail money, sometimes activists looking to put pressure on particular companies. Dyn says the attack has ended.
Digital security researchers and USA officials are cautious in accepting the two groups are behind the attacks considering there is little evidence to support the claim.
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Dyn said it is continuing its investigation into the root cause.
The malware known as Mirai wreaks havoc by hijacking IoT devices to form a huge connected network and assault websites with requests, overloading them until effectively knocking them offline. When used for the first time, the devices will now require the user to change the default password.
For its part, a member of New World Hackers who identified themselves as "Prophet" told an AP reporter via Twitter direct message exchange that collective isn't motivated by money and doesn't have anything personal against Dyn, Twitter or any of the other sites affected by the attacks.
While James said he believes this to be the worst DDoS attack in recent memory, future attacks could last longer and cripple the US, like one that impacts trains or the stock market.
He said: "We will make one demand actually".
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack yet. Dyn is a company which is involved in the Internet traffic controlling. Cottrell said the long-term solution lies in improving the security of all internet-connected devices.