You did not misread the title: Yes, half of the world wide web, the Internet we know and use every hour and every day, has been shut down a couple of days ago.

And yes, that may have been caused – in part – by your personal smart camera or smart refrigerator.

A massive DDoS attack on the Internet!

On last Friday, October 21st 2016, internet users in Egypt and all around the globe started reporting a lag in the performance of websites and services like Twitter, Reddit, Spotify, Netflix and many others. 

That came as a result of a historic unprecedented cyber attack waged by anonymous hackers on the servers of Dyn, Josoor Internet Marketing partners whom we started working with to offer their services and products in Egypt and MENA region since the year 2013.

What is DDoS? And how did this happen?

In order to grasp what really happened on that day, it’s important to know the meaning of both; DNS and DDoS.

Domain Name Servers (DNS) are like Phone books for the Internet. DNSs keep a directory of domain names and convert them to Internet Protocol addresses (known as IPs – you heard that alot – yeah?). When you visit a website using your web browser, it actually searches for the IP of this website. What a domain name (URL) means for you, is the same as what a DNS means for your computer or smart phone.

While DDoS, standing for Distributed Denial of Service, is a type of a cyber attack where many compromised connected systems (computers, phones, devices, … etc.), which are often infected with a Trojan software (a semi-computer virus), are used by hackers to target a single system or a server causing what is known as “Denial of Service (DoS) attack”.

On that black Friday, 3 major waves of DOS attacks took place aiming at causing Dyn’s servers to collapse. Why Dyn? Well, Dyn is a major DNS service provider whose servers take care of the DNS for major Online services like Twitter, Netflix, Spotify and many others.

The attacks caused massive outages for Dyn’s clients, which accordingly caused a massive lag and so widely received complains from the users worldwide about the death-mode into which many important websites went as a result of the attack that Dyn had to deal with.

Personal and Smart home devices?!

Well, yes – speculations from many internet security experts suspected that the attackers, who are obviously very well organized and unprecedentedly experienced, played it out of the box and instead of placing their Trojans into computers and laptops, they turned to plant their e-soldiers in the vulnerable – yet connected – smart home devices and cameras.

Hackers need other computers and connected-devices to use them to generate millions of visits to the target servers (Dyn’s servers in this case) so that they exceed their capacity and collapse.

So, yes! If you’re lucky enough to own a smart refrigerator or a camera that can connect to the Internet, most likely your device could have been compromised by the attackers to use it – among other millions – in their global massive attack.

You can learn more about the attack timeline and updates directly from Dyn’s website, who exerted massive efforts together with the Internet community, to stop the attacks and quarantine their horrific consequences.

If you need help to keep your website secured from DDoS and other Cyber Attacks, drop us a line and a Josoor Digital Solutions expert will get in touch with you shortly.