A Dyn DDoS attack, a distributed denial-of-service attack, caused internet outages for more than a dozen websites based in the eastern United States Friday morning including Twitter, Netflix and Amazon.
The attack came through the DNS, or domain name server, of the websites, which were linked together because they were managed by Dyn, a single company that provides DNS for many major sites. Other sites affected include The New York Times, Pinterest, Reddit, Etsy, Tumblr, Spotify, Paypal, Verizon, and the Playstation Network, among others, The Atlantic reported.
During a DDoS attack, malicious users attempt to flood the targeted website with a large amount of junk traffic, which uses up all the bandwidth of the site so that legitimate users can't get onto it. The DNS, which normally redirects users from the site address to the actual servers used by the site, can’t function properly during a DDoS attack because of the volume of requests.
The attack started shortly after 7 a.m. Eastern time on Friday and was mostly resolved by 9:20 a.m. A second attack was attempted just before noon, but it was prevented from becoming large scale, according to Reuters. The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI were investigating the attack and whether it was due to criminal activity.
There is cause to believe that a foreign government could be involved because of the attack’s size, the Atlantic reported. Security technologist Bruce Schneier recently blogged that a larger attack like this could be carried out by a larger nation like China or Russia, although he didn’t have definite information about who was behind any specific DNS attack.
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