The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Department of Homeland Security are probing cyber attacks that disrupted websites like Twitter, Reddit and Spotify for US users, officials said on Saturday.
Twitter and some other major websites were shut down on the East Coast for several hours on Friday as an American internet service provider called Dyn and Amazon’s web services unit were hit by waves of cyber attacks..
Dyn, headquartered in New Hampshire, said that its Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure suffered a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack starting at 7.10 a.m. (4.40 p.m. IST), Xinhua news agency reported. A DDoS attack is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources, and the company said the attack is “mainly impacting US East”. About two hours later, Dyn said “services have been restored to normal”.
But it was not over. The company confirmed that a second DDoS attack took place at 11.52 a.m. (8.30 p.m. IST). “This DDoS attack may also be impacting Dyn Managed DNS advanced services with possible delays in monitoring,” it said.
According to the tech portal The Verge, a malicious script called Mirai is to be blamed for this attack. Mirai is “a piece of malware which works by scanning the internet for those devices that still have factory default or static username and password combinations.” Mirai typically exploits vulnerable connected gadgets – this includes nearly all ‘smart’ home gadgets.