DNS Security Overview

An Article By: Stephanie Memos, Marketing Coordinator, CHIPS Technology Group Inc.

Recently, major websites such as Twitter, Spotify, PayPal and Reddit were inaccessible to millions of users around the country. The attack was first reported on the east coast as it made its way across country. It is believed that an attack by hackers was released to a large portion of DNS hosts causing websites to go down. Throughout the day users experienced continued issues with internet such as query latency and unresponsiveness.

So what is a DDoS Cyber-attack?

Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) happens when a hacker targets a website or web service with junk traffic so that it cannot handle the legitimate incoming connections. The server becomes severely overwhelmed causing it to slow down and or shut down the system and the interrupting service. At this point you may be asking yourself, "Is this a new form of attack?" The answer is No, realistically, these attacks actually are quite popular due to the up rise in new technology such as IoT (Internet of Things).

With Dyn offering domain Name System (DNS) services, or as we like to think of it, a one stop shop of all internet addresses, hackers are often elated when targeting this shop since it holds massive information.

During this attack, harmful messages and requests were coming from millions of IP addresses maliciously disrupting systems. Information has shown that the devices attacked were infected with a malware code that was commonly released during the up weeks to this attack. The malware, (Mirai) searches for specific IoT, such as webcams, smart home appliances, DVRs, etc. to take the default log-in credentials (usernames and passwords) and turns them into a host to cyber-attack.

Today, we are still unaware who is responsible for this attack, but it is clear to see that attackers were able to disrupt a major DNS provider used by popular companies across the country. For now, it is keen that we further educate ourselves on how we can secure our personal devices during this era.