It’s funny how easy it is to take things, such as the ability to quickly and easily access the internet, for granted. Many of us were reminded of that on Friday when a massive DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack took down major swaths of the internet, including Twitter, Paypal, Github, and many others.
At this point, it appears as though the DDoS attack focused on a single point of failure; the DNS provider Dyn. In short, Dyn provides the service that points a web URL (such as www.forbes.com) to the appropriate IP address and content. Dyn was flooded with traffic that was designed to tax their services (such as their API) to their limits.
Traffic from several million IP addresses was sent in at least three massive waves, overwhelming Dyn’s system and causing it to go down. When that happened, web browsers were no longer able to connect web addresses to their respective websites, thus prohibiting users from accessing their desired services.