Under Cyber Attack: Where were you during the Day of Great Internet Outage (10.21.16)?

On Friday, October 21, 2016, the United States was rocked...

with multiple successive DDoS cyber attacks. The attacks were targeted to Dyn DNS, the company that has a massive influence of the Internet sites that people commonly use on a daily basis. Major websites became inaccessible and unusable to millions in the United States and surrounding areas. These include Twitter, Spotify, Netflix, The New York Times, Airbnb, Etsy, Reddit, and SoundCloud – all very popular websites used in America and around the world.

In one single day, the cyber attacks debilitated a critical aspect of the Internet’s infrastructure, resulting in blocked access to websites.  As reported by Yahoo! Tech, these attacks are a “new spin” on the old hacker attack known as distributed denial-of-service (DDoS). The same report states, “armies of computers infected with malicious code are typically used in DDoS attacks intended to overwhelm targets with simultaneous online requests” (https://www.yahoo.com/tech/twitter-spotify-disrupted-internet-provider-reports-attack-131047632.html).  To further explain by CNN, “a DDoS attack is an attempt to flood a website with so much traffic that it impairs normal service.” (http://heavy.com/news/2016/10/ddos-attack-cyber-russia-false-flag-us-putin-trump-obama-cia-north-korea-poodlecorp-netflix-twitter/)

Consequently, the overall Internet network’s vulnerabilities were instantly exposed. The top US security agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, are currently highly involved in the ongoing monitoring of the impactful situation.

Friday, October 21, 2016 is now known as a millennial and tech geek’s worst nightmare: the internet outage left users not able to post messages via social media, watch funny cat videos at work, shop online for Saturday night’s big party, and play solitaire instead of finishing the latest marketing report.

Once the news broke, speculations and theories regarding the attack’s instigators were publicized around the world. The current Obama administration called the attack “malicious.” Allegations of Russia’s direct involvement in the cyber attacks flood news sources and media outlets.  This has been a popular viewpoint, as the attacks follow most recent data breaching scandal that affected the Democratic Party. Another possible theory is that the United States orchestrated the chaos as a “false flag” attack in an attempt to blame Russia and its President Vladimir Putin. Currently, the FBI is stating there is currently not enough evidence to blame a group, country or specific person.  This may change as the investigation into the attacks proceeds.

Naturally, once Twitter was up and running, tweeters instantly tweeted their views and sentiments towards the attacks. Some of the more funny tweets were:

  • Ben duPont ‪@BenjaminduPont: Looks like Twitter is down again.....now 1 billion people won't know what I had for breakfast.
  • Helle Oh, uh, Hell ‪@ElleOhHell: While Twitter was down I had to just say my joke to the other people on the bus and let me tell you, Twitter jokes aren't funny in real life
  • Jimmy Kimmel @jimmykimmel: no offense to ‪@twitter, but taking down ‪@Netflix on a Friday night is an act of war
  • Anubis8 ‪@Anubis8: DDoS attack this morning takes out Reddit, Twitter & Spotify. Work productivity increases by 300%
  • @midnight: Regardless of what "data" might say, Twitter was trying to shut ITSELF down until the election is over.

…This tweet sums up how the world felt once Twitter was restored:

Alison Stevenson @JustAboutGlad: Twitter is back GREAT I have been wanting to tweet that I think cucumbers are weird for HOURS now

To read these tweets again, and to read more hilarious tweets about the DDoS attack, check out: http://www.smosh.com/smosh-pit/photos/best-tweets-about-todays-ddos-attacks-took-down-parts-internet and https://www.bustle.com/articles/190911-funny-tweets-about-the-great-internet-outage-of-oct-21-2016-a-day-you-shant-ever

All joking aside, the DDos attacks are a clear indicator of how critical the issue of cyber security is, especially with the impending presidential election taking place very soon.  It also shows the Internet’s vulnerability and delicate state, and the importance of having a leader who can combat these issues without instigating a nuclear war (cough, Donald Trump, cough). 

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