US citizens were in for a shock yesterday when popular sites Twitter, Netflix Soundcloud, Spotify and PayPal were taken down by a highly sophisticated Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. It’s now being considered as one of the biggest such assaults on the internet in the recent past.
The sheer scale of the attack knocked off large parts of the internet and left people in the US and some parts of Europe without access to a number of sites. The hackers targeted a DNS host company called Dyn which services these websites, unleashing 3 rounds of DDoS assaults over the course of the day.
DDoS basically floods servers with junk traffic, overwhelming the network to the extent that it freezes up. Some of this malicious traffic came from millions of internet addresses and some supposedly originated from ordinary IoT connected devices like webcams and video recorders.
The latter group was supposedly infected by a dangerous software called Mirai, the code for which had been uploaded online about a month ago for criminal groups to take advantage of. As per AFP, a mysterious group called the New World Hackers is now claiming responsibility for the cyberattack through their Twitter account.
New World Hackers apparently organized a massive collective of botnets popularly referred to as ‘zombie’ computers which spewed out an astonishing 1.2TB/s of data at Dyn’s servers. The collective asserts that they initiated the assault to throw light on security vulnerabilities. The group had previously taken credit for attacks on ESPN and the BBC earlier this year.
Dyn for its part says it hasn’t received any claims of responsibility yet and is currently working with law enforcement.