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  • Explanation of What's Going on With the Internet Today

    Alright, so there's been a major DDoS attack on nearly every major website at the same time. This also affects the Deepworld forums, and any other servers which connect with this attack. What's going on is a bit trickier, than simply targeting a website.

    First, we need to understand was a DDoS is. Simply, it stands for "Direct Denial of Service." It's commonly used by not-so-nice people to shut down websites by overloading their servers with requests. (think telling your computer to refresh the webpage 130000 times in a second kind of thing)

    The internet has 13 key points in which is assigns unique names to each device that uses the internet. This system is known as the Domain Name System, or DNS for short. The 13 key points, or bottlenecks (well, Virtually 13) are known as the Root Name Servers. They are extremely vital as these are the only places that a device is given its unique DNS name. Think of it like a phonebook, but used for identifying devices, not people. The Root Name Servers are divided into 13 letters, A through M, and are owned by independent entities. Root Name Server "A" is owned by Versign, "B" is owned by USC, and so on.

    This is where things get complicated. Root Name Server designation "F" is technically owned by the Internet Systems Consortium, Inc (ISC). In July 2016, ISC partnered with Dyn, a DNS hosting company, to help run the Root Name Server F. This is where things get heated. The DDoS today specifically target Dyn. By knocking down Dyn, they essentially disabled one of the 13 access points the entire internet uses. This caused huge problems across the east coast, and eventually spread to the West Coast, and even affected parts of Europe and Asia.

    How did this happen? Well, there's a new burgeoning area of technology called the "Internet of Things." IOT describes every day devices such as coffee brewers, refrigerators, toasters, etc that are all connected to the Internet. The problem with these devices, is that they have EXTREMELY poor security... Actually, none. There usually isn't any security... Hackers can tap into these devices with malware, and use it to their will. In this case, it appears IOT devices were used in an EXTREMELY, GIGANTIC, HUMONGOUS botnet (Click the link for more info on Botnets). Actually, it's so huge, the central coordinator is was able to control Tens of MILLIONS IP addresses and use them to attack Dyn.

    Update: further investigation reveals that the hackers used Mirai, a specialized malware/botnet that attacks IOT devices. They were able to hijack nearly the entire product line of Chinese web connected CCTV cameras.