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Atlantic Magazine - Burning Laptop

I’ve been working in the Internet-connected world for over 20 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this. Atlantic Magazine’s story about today’s internet outage is titled “When the Entire Internet Seems to Break At Once.”

It seems there is a massive DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack happening today at one of the world’s major providers of DNS (Domain Name System) service, which is how web site addresses are matched up with server IP addresses so anything can be found in our web browsers. When DNS is prevented from working, then lots of web sites appear to go missing. They aren’t actually lost, but the mechanism for locating where any particular web page actually resides is being severely disrupted.

My client’s sites are affected, I can’t reliably get to my own personal blog site, my server hosting facility is apparently so busy dealing with the crisis they haven’t had a chance to respond to my support request from six hours ago, and even basic services like email are getting interrupted. Many big name sites are unreachable: Twitter is down, Boston Globe, New York Times, Github, Airbnb, Reddit, Freshbooks, many more, all gone missing because DNS at one company has been taken down.

That company is Dyn, Inc. a global DNS service provider… that I use for my own business! Because they are really good at what they do! Using Dyn for DNS has given my business a competitive advantage because it’s so much better than most other DNS services. Better meaning faster lookups, so all Oakley Studio web sites appear really fast in a web browser. Except, not today.

Here is a map from earlier today, showing what parts of the country are affected.

Level 3 Service Outage Map

 

You can read more about the DDoS attack here:

  • UPDATE: Wired.com“DDoS Attacks: What Are They?”
  • UPDATE: Mashable“How an Attack on a Company You’ve Never Heard of Crushed the Internet”
  • UPDATE: Motherboard.com“The Motherboard e-Glossary of Cyber Terms and Hacking Lingo”
  • UPDATE: Wired.com – Describing it as “Ripping Up the Telephone Book”
  • TechCrunch“Many sites including Twitter, Shopify and Spotify suffering outage”
  • NBC New York“Major Websites Made Unreachable Amid 3 Waves of Internet Attacks”
  • Gizmodo“This is Probably Why Half the Internet Shut Down Today”
  • Yahoo.com“Cyber attacks disrupt PayPal, Twitter, other sites”
  • DownDetector.com – Shows problems at lots of major web destinations.
  • Google News – More realtime coverage.

What can we do about it? Not much beyond just waiting it out. Dyn is currently involved in “mitigation,” which means deflecting millions of incoming connection requests to their DNS servers coming from thousands of compromised computers in offices and homes around the world that are now being orchestrated (by who??) to disrupt Dyn’s service.

I’m sure we’ll be learning over the next several days a lot more about who is behind the attack and how it happened. In the meantime I’ll update this post to let you know what’s going on. If you have questions, please use the comment form below to ask. You can also call me (phone service is still working?) or email. I’ve been hearing from several clients reporting what it looks like from their location, what’s working and what’s not. It will be sorted out but this may take time for DNS to begin working properly again and websites to become reliably reachable again.