What is a DDoS Hack?

While browsing the Web and clicking from site to site, every now and then you will run into a web page that is down. With one quick click,you are usually back on the web and looking for the next page.


While browsing the Web and clicking from site to site, every now and then you will run into a web page that is down. With one quick click, you are usually back on the web and looking for the next page. But on October 29th of this year, millions of Internet consumers found that some of their favorite websites they visit everyday were shut down for hours. Of course, most consumers just figured the website was “down” and decided to check back in throughout the day until the website reappeared. What they didn’t realize was that this was a DDoS hack affecting many sites.

Behind the scenes, one company was frantically working to get all the websites up and running again. The company targeted in this cyber-attack was Dyn, a DNS (Domain Name Servers) provider to many popular websites, such as Netflix, Twitter, Etsy, Amazon, Airbnb and more. The latest attack on this company not only left an impact, but also raised questions about how well protected we and the devices we use are when it comes to hackers.

What is a DNS Provider?

DNS providers such as Dyn are frequently referred to as an “internet telephone book.” Every website that you visit has a unique IP address. When you type that website address into the search bar, Dyn acts as the telephone book provider and takes that number and displays for you the webpage you were searching for.

This simple service works everyday for every website you visit, and there are a variety of DNS providers around the world. When a DNS provider is down, your browser can’t reach the websites it normally would.

The attack on Dyn impacted users in the United States as well as parts of Europe, and clearly showed just how vulnerable our technology can be.

How the Hack Works

Of course, a company with the size and magnitude of Dyn has several security operations in place to make sure that their customers are protected from hacker attacks on a day-to-day basis. But a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is a very straightforward and effective way to get around those protections.

In a DDoS attack, the hackers typically hit several devices at once, infecting them with a Trojan virus or malware (also known as a botnet) that they can control to carry out a specific command.

The hackers in the Dyn attack used the Mirai malware. This infects thousands or millions of hardware devices (routers, smart TVs, web cameras, etc.), turning them into an army that shoots traffic directly at the servers. Under that deluge of traffic, the servers shut down and were thus unable to perform their task of connecting us to the sites we want to visit.

Can This Happen Again?

Unfortunately, these types of attacks are being carried out everyday and their numbers are only increasing. Most of the devices used in the attack are infrequently updated with software or are shipped overseas from factories that have little to no regulations on what type of security has to be in place in order to pass inspection. Most consumers buy a device thinking about its major function first, not its security features.

One important aspect of this hack is that it has kicked off an overdue conversation about how well protected and secure we are from our devices. Now that the danger of hackers turning our devices against us is a reality, any business with a web presence is at risk.

Contact Unleaded Group today at 720-221-7126 and speak with one of our experts. We’ll help you assess the security of your website and see if you are protected against anonymous hackers.