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Why did most of the Internet “Blow up” today?

By October 22, 2016 General

The Internet blew up (again) this month. This time it was big. Possibly the biggest attack yet. And the people who did it said there is more to come. Here is what happened. Explained in English.

Important to note. This was a North American attack.

We all know what the Internet is. Most people know it to be a large network of connected networks, personal computers and servers that store data, websites, games, pictures etc. We access the network through a series of ‘phone numbers’ that we call IP addresses. As a user, you don’t see the ‘phone number’ or IP address. Instead, you see a domain name. My quick example would be  This is a domain (web site address) that when you type it, cross references the IP address or phone number, and voila! Computer A is now connected to computer B.

Just this month, a smart group of bad people launched what the Internet people call a DDoS Attack. DDoS stands for “Distributed Denial of Service.” In a DDoS attack, the attacker sends a bunch of bogus Internet traffic to a user, website or web server, in the hopes of overloading it and knocking it offline.

This attack was clever. They attacked not just any server but one of the larger DNS or “Phone Book” hosts of one of the big providers of Domain name look-up services. It was a company called DYN. Attacking them meant also attacking the largest sites out there at the same time. Sites like Twitter, Spotify and Reddit, and a large number of other websites, were down or slowed down up during this attack.

Targeting DNS is a way for a hacker to attack the internet at the Web Server level with lots of websites being impacted at once, without attacking any single site in particular.

They knew this going in.

Today’s Distributed Denial of Service attacks are growing in size, frequency and complexity. No one is immune to these attacks. For a business, application availability, website up-time and network infrastructure accessibility are all critical for business continuity. Every minute of downtime can result in lost productivity and revenue.

How do you create a DDOS Attack?

It is shockingly easy. Sadly, like everything on the Internet, you can actually google how to destroy the Internet. One way is to simply create a small or large network of infected machines that distribute your attack plan via a virus or malware.  Another way is by simply asking people on social media to run a utility.

Scary stuff.

Once installed, the originator can control remote computer behavior. This enables an army of packet murdering assassins at one’s finger tips. They effectively create traffic with the sole purpose of taking a user or website off line.

A DDOS attack does not actually disable your actual internet, it just makes it harder for you to hit ‘certain’ sites while the attack is going on.

Why do people do this?

Some for fun. Some for profit. Some for harm.

For profit, there are people that actually ‘sell’ DDOS attacks to take a site down or impact the flow of information or news. This is particularly prevalent during periods of elections and related activities where there are strong views in either direction. Another is to influence the flow of information via the media. If you ‘crush’ the media sites you can effectively control or ‘shut off’ the flow of the same information that people are looking for.

Other reasons to do this?

There are the old favorites – Business Reasoning, something called Hacktivism, and a fun one called Script Kiddies.

Business reasoning is an easy one to understand. If on-line store A is impacted then on-line store B can potentially benefit.

Hacktivism is the act of hacking, or breaking into a computer system, for a politically or socially motivated purpose. The individual who performs an act of hacktivism is said to be a hacktivist.

Script Kiddies are a person who uses existing computer scripts or code to hack into computers. It is generally assumed that script kiddies are juveniles who lack the ability to write sophisticated programs.

What now?

As a user of the Internet it is important to know how things work and equally important to know what is happening when things stop working.

As a business on the Internet, it is equally important to know how it works, but to also know that there are times to rely on the public Internet. Additionally, there are times to remember private connections are possible, making Internet traffic and websites more secure.

About Frontier Networks


Frontier Networks Inc. is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario and provides Broadband Internet or MPLS, Voice lines or Cloud PBX (a replacement to old phone systems), cloud servers , colocation and our new Physical Security offering to Canadian Retail and Multi Site customers who demand world-wide coverage from a ‘new’ network. “We like to do traditional things in a non-traditional way”.  Frontier has built a network that connects to other networks. Think of them like a large ‘backbone’ of interconnected networks. They connect to every phone company, cable company, wireless and hydro/utelco in Canada and the US through a series of well-connected Points of Presence (POPs). Simply put ‘we don’t suck’.

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