Here’s how hackers brought down the internet – and what we can do to stop them
If you were on the US East Coast on 21 October, you likely noticed that the internet just wasn’t working as it should. Some of the web’s most popular sites – Twitter, AirBnB, Spotify, Reddit, NYTimes.com and many others (even, ironically, http://downforeveryoneorjustme.com/) – were either out for some time or very slow to access.
It wasn’t a glitch or a mistake that led to this outage. Rather, it was a malicious attack on some of the backbone structures of the internet. In its scope and methodology, the attack draws attention to some of the innovations – especially those relating to the internet of things (IoT) – that we’re in the process of expanding, perhaps without taking their security implications as seriously as we should.
Authorities and cybersecurity experts are still trying to figure out the specifics of what happened and who was responsible, but we know the basics and we can draw some of our own conclusions about what we need to do to mitigate the risk of this happening again.