Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

U.S. Internet Repeatedly Disrupted by Cyberattacks on Key Firm

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

U.S. Internet Repeatedly Disrupted by Cyberattacks on Key Firm

Article excerpt

LONDON * A series of cyberattacks on a key internet firm repeatedly disrupted the availability of popular websites across the United States Friday, according to analysts and company officials. The White House described the disruption as malicious. Members of a hacker group spread across China and Russia claimed responsibility, although the assertion couldn't be verified.

Manchester, N.H.-based Dyn Inc. said its server infrastructure was hit by distributed denial-of-service attacks, which work by overwhelming targeted machines with junk data traffic. The attack had knock-on effects for users trying to access sites such as Twitter, Netflix and PayPal.

BROAD EFFECTS

The level of disruption was difficult to gauge, but Dyn provides internet traffic management and optimization services to some of the biggest names on the web, including Twitter, Netflix and Visa. Critically, Dyn provides domain name services, which translate the human-readable addresses such as "twitter.com" into an online route for browsers and applications.

Steve Grobman, CTO at Intel Security, compared an outage at a domain name services company to tearing up a map or turning off GPS before driving to the department store. "It doesn't matter that the store is fully open or operational if you have no idea how to get there," he said.

"The complexity of the attacks is what is making it so difficult for us," said Kyle York, Dyn's chief strategy officer. "What they are actually doing is moving around the world with each attack." He said an East Coast data center was hit first; attacks on an offshore target followed later.

The data flood came from tens of millions of different Internet- connected machines including increasingly popular but highly insecure household devices such as web-connected cameras. It was an onslaught whose global shifts suggested a sophisticated attacker, though Dyn said it had neither suspect nor motive. …

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