Security analysts have said that hackers used internet-connected devices like printers and CCTV cameras to attack popular websites. Some of the affected websites are Reddit, Spotify and Twitter which were taken offline on Friday.
Each uses a company called Dyn, which was the target of the attack, to direct users to its website.
Security analysts have assessed the situation and believe web-connected devices were used to perpetuate the assault.
Dyn can be viewed as a phone book of the internet which directs users to the internet address on which a given website has been stored.
Flashpoint, a security firm, arrived at the conclusion that botnets that had the Mirai malware were used in the attack.
Most of the devices that were affected come from the Chinese manufacturers and had passwords that are easy to guess. This is a vulnerability that the malware exploits.
One of the things that make this virus a tricky one is the fact that the device user may not be able to tell when he or she has been attacked.
This attack is a reminder to us that as much as the internet is a robust communications system, there are still some avenues which attackers can exploit to cause widespread damage.
New era of attacks
The Friday incidence in which major websites were affected indicates a shift in the way attackers operate online.
DDoS attacks are typically aimed at a single website. Friday’s attack on Dyn, which acts as a directory service for huge numbers of firms, affected several of the world’s most popular websites at once.
It is also relatively new to see attackers using internet-connected devices to send attack messages.
The Mirai software was made public in September and this means any person can use it to create their own botnet – as long as you have the skill.
Many researchers and analysts have taken it to social media to express their frustration in the security gap.