A number of websites have been hit by an outage
A number of websites have been hit by an outage

A number of websites have been hit by an outage, meaning many users were unable to access sites such as Twitter, SoundCloud, Spotify and Shopify.

 

The cause appears to be a sweeping outage of DNS provider Dyn, as a result of a DDOS attack. On its status update webpage, Dyn said the issue started at 11.10 UTC this morning.

 

“We began monitoring and mitigating a DDoS attack against our Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure,” it said. “Some customers may experience increased DNS query latency and delayed zone propagation during this time. Updates will be posted as information becomes available.”

 

In an update, the firm said that the attack was mainly impacting US East and was impacting Managed DNS customers in this region. “Our engineers are continuing to work on mitigating this issue,” it added.

 

The problem lasted just over two hours and services were restored to normal as of 13:20 UTC.

 

Other sites having problems included Box, Boston Globe, New York Times, Github, Airbnb, Reddit, Freshbooks, Heroku and Vox Media.

 

Mark James, security specialist at ESET, told SCMagazineUK.com that DDoS seems to be more widely used these days to cause disruption and nuisance.

 

“As more machines become available to be infected, thus drafted into possible botnet type activity, the resources available are growing bigger and bigger,” he said.

 

DDoS of course may not only be used to make a statement or bring voice to your protests, it may, and has on many occasions, be used as a smokescreen to cover other nefarious purposes which may include data theft or malware infection.”

 

Alex Mathews, EMEA technical manager, Positive Technologies told SC that if we put aside conspiracy theories and analyse DDoS as a business, "DDoS providers" can easily access many powerful and cheap resources.

 

“The number of vulnerable computers, bugged web applications and flawed communications grows incredibly quickly. Add to this "Internet of Things" and this rapidly multiplies. Most new gadgets are developed and produced as fast as possible, with little if any security testing,” he said.

 

“As a result, we already see botnets made of everything: home and industrial WiFi routers, POS terminals, CCTV cameras, smart TVs, game consoles and many other widespread gadgets that were unavailable five years ago. All this infected machinery makes DDoS attacks far easier and cheaper. Even kids can use such "services" to crash school sites with online exams. So, instead of blaming some invisible Big Brother all the time, we'd better look around and check our home ‘little brothers' for malware."

 

David Gibson, VP of strategy and market development at Varonis said: “Like many of our aging technologies, DNS wasn't built with security in mind. DNS is one of the aging technologies the industry is struggling to update, along with one-factor authentication (password-only security), unencrypted web connections – the list is very long, and the stakes have never been higher. Many people and organisations are affected by today's attack and by the email and file (e.g. video) leaks over the past couple months.”