At around 7am eastern US time on October 21 2016, a company called Dyn was bought down by a massive distributed denial of service attack and the internet backbone which delivers websites and services including Twitter, Reddit, Amazon, Spotify, Tumblr, PayPal and CNN to the world went dark.
It meant a few hours of mere inconvenience for most of the world but catastrophically costly downtime (and bad PR) for some very big brand names.
Scarier still, the three waves of the attack didn’t come from malware installed on countless PCs (usually the case in DDoS attacks) but devices like DVRs, security cameras, webcams, modems, baby monitors, web-connected thermostats, coffee makers and fridges.
The official statement from Dyn said ‘tens of millions of IP addresses’ (the unique identifiers for devices connected to the internet) were involved.
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