Cy­ber­at­tack dis­rupts in­ter­net ser­vice in US

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE -

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 their 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 pop­u­lar web­sites from across Amer­ica and even in Europe, af­fect­ing 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, chief tech­nol­ogy of­fi­cer 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 in a tele­phone in­ter­view.

Ja­son Read, founder of the in­ter­net per­for­mance mon­i­tor­ing firm CloudHar­mony, owned by Gart­ner Inc., said his com­pany tracked a halfhour-long dis­rup­tion early Fri­day in which roughly one in two end users would have found it im­pos­si­ble to ac­cess var­i­ous web­sites from the East Coast. A sec­ond at­tack later in the day caused dis­rup­tion to the East and West coasts as well as im­pact­ing some users in Europe.

“It’s been pretty busy for those guys,” Read said. “We’ve been mon­i­tor­ing Dyn for years, and this is by far the worst out­age event that we’ve ob­served.”

Read said Dyn pro­vides ser­vices to some 6 per­cent of Amer­ica’s For­tune 500 com­pa­nies.

“It im­pacted quite a few users,” he said of the morn­ing’s at­tack. A full list of af­fected com­pa­nies wasn’t im­me­di­ately avail­able, but Twit­ter, Net­flix, PayPal and the coder hang­out Github said they briefly ex­pe­ri­enced prob­lems ear­lier Fri­day.

Re­spon­si­bil­ity

Mem­bers of a shad­owy hacker col­lec­tive that calls it­self New World Hack­ers claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the at­tack via Twit­ter. They said they or­ga­nized net­works of con­nected “zom­bie” com­put­ers that threw a stag­ger­ing 1.2 ter­abits per sec­ond of data at the Dyn-man­aged servers.

“We didn’t do this to at­tract fed­eral agents, only test power,” two col­lec­tive mem­bers who iden­ti­fied them­selves as “Prophet” and “Zain” told an AP re­porter in a Twit­ter di­rect mes­sage ex­change. They said more than 10 mem­ber par­tic­i­pated in the at­tack. It was not im­me­di­ately pos­si­ble to ver­ify the claim.

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