In October of 2016 the East Coast of the US suffered a major internet interruption caused by a DDoS attack. To understand the meaning of this simple sentence, we need to first know what a DDOS attack is.
Distributed Denial of Service attacks are an orchestrated attack where many, many machines, usually infected with a ‘bot’, simultaneously gang up on a select list of other machines or networks. This tidal wave of traffic overwhelms servers and routers to the point that legitimate traffic is ‘dropped’. This leads to users trying to access a resource with no result or the ever helpful ‘404 page’ in their web browser.
The DDoS attack that crippled a large portion of the internet last month was primarily focused on the Domain Name Services (DNS) offered by Dyn. DNS is a critical component of the internet because it is like the white pages for internet connected computers. When a user types in ‘http://www.indysitdepartment.com’ to a web browser, that computer must first locate the IP Address (kind of like a phone number) for the server this website is actually published to. Dyn offers a highly valued DNS service that offers speed, security and easy management of DNS services.
With the attack being focused on Dyn and their DNS services, the DDoS affected many different networks and websites. Affected sites include Twitter, Netflix, Spotify, AirBnB, Reddit, Etsy, The New York Times, and many others. It also affected thousands of other sites as small businesses who also use the Dyn services were effectively blocked.
But, this attack was different. Usually, these DDoS attacks are from malicious software being run on internet connected computers and servers. This time, the malicious software was inserted into and ran from internet connected devices such as cameras, baby monitors and home office/small office routers. All of these hundreds of thousands of devices flooded the Dyn network with an overwhelming amount of traffic.
As a small business, or home user, DDoS attacks usually do not affect you other than being an inconvenience. Unless your unprotected, unpatched, hacked devices are a part of the attack. To prevent this from happening, ensure your internet connected devices have strong security, including complex passwords, and keep the firmware inside the device current and updated.
As always, Indy’s I.T. Department is here and available to help you with your technology needs. Call or e-mail us, today at 317-560-4443 or email@example.com for a free security evaluation of your small business internet access. We will evaluate your connection, firewall and traffic samples to identify potential or immediate security issues.