On the 21st of October, hackers launched an attack that removed several of the most visited websites in the world from the internet. This included sites like Twitter, Paypal, Netflix, Spotify and many many others.
They achieved this using a DDoS attack (we've covered these in a previous Jargon Busting blog). However, they didn't direct all the traffic at the individual websites. Instead, they attacked the company that provides DNS for all these websites. We covered DNS in our very first Jargon Busting blog, but the short version is that DNS is what converts your browser's request to look at twitter.com into the IP address for Twitter. If that link is broken, your browser doesn't know where to look.
In addition to the cleverly picked target, this attack also differed from previous similar attacks in another important way. Much of the traffic that overloaded the system was coming from the so called "Internet of Things", which we cover in this month's Jargon Buster. It was estimated that 1.2 terabytes of data a second was being flung at the DNS provider by these devices.
As more and more of our data moves online, the value in being able to take down services like this continues to increase. Both "for fun", and possibly more serious state-sponsored purposes. It's very unlikely that this is the last we'll see of attacks of this nature....