Internet service is gradually stabilizing after at least two waves of successive cyberattacks wreaked havoc and took down popular sites such as Twitter, Reddit, Spotify and Netflix.
As we're increasingly connected, cyberattacks pose greater threats than ever and hackers are always looking for new points of weakness to exploit and take down their targets. The latest wave of cyberattacks crippled some of the largest names on the internet, making the internet a ghost town for a while.
Most of the services that suffered outages went down because hackers unleashed a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on Dyn servers. For those unfamiliar with Dyn, it's a web technology provider and a major DNS host.
Hackers have tried to shoot down root DNS servers and failed in the past, but companies and big businesses started to increasingly rely on professional DNS providers to handle their internet operations, partly hoping to avoid or more easily mitigate DDoS attacks.
With more businesses relying on professionally managed DNS providers such as Dyn, however, hackers have found new targets: centralized platforms.
While the internet is now stabilizing after the DDoS attacks that took down Netflix, Twitter, Reddit and other popular services, this may be just the beginning. DDoS attacks are gradually escalating and becoming more powerful and dangerous, and they're extremely difficult and expensive to fend off.
Only a few companies can currently defend themselves against DDoS attacks, at least for now. The Internet of Things (IoT) is gaining ground and taking connectivity to the next level, with an increasing number of devices from DVRs to CCTV cameras and more being linked directly online. Many of these devices have mediocre security features, making them perfect targets for hackers who want to infiltrate the bigger picture.
Attackers can hack poorly-secured IoT devices and create botnets, using the infected devices to unleash DDoS attacks. Moreover, it's also become a lot easier to launch such attacks as one no longer needs to be a skilled hacker to do so. Criminals are selling botnet attacks like they're candy, which means that anyone can buy and launch attacks against various targets.
DNS servers that host many notable websites are like an incredibly appetizing buffet for hackers, and it was only a matter of time before botnets hit DNS servers. Consolidating a large number of websites into a small number of DNS providers delivers a unique opportunity to hit core internet services and wreak more havoc at once.
Why is it just the beginning? Because we're increasingly connected, IoT is growing, DNS providers manage great amounts of customers, undersea cables are increasingly powerful, DDoS attacks are cheap and easy to buy and the stakes are higher than ever.