Cyber attacks have become an all too common part of life in modern America. A recent attack slowed or stopped the Internet all across the East Coast as well as locations in California. And, every time something like this happens, the general public learns something new and less than thrilling about the system on which they have based their modern lives.
The cyber attack, in this case, targeted a company called Dyn. This service provider is one of the anonymous names that help make the internet work on the scale necessary to keep up with modern demand.
Dyn doesn’t provide direct service to users. The company provides infrastructure and support to some of the ‘nets biggest names, such as Twitter and Spotify. While the extent of the impact of this attack can’t be quantified, some sites have reported dozens of big name sites impacted included HBO, CNN, Mashable, New York Times, People, Wall Street Journal, and Yelp.
Suddenly, folks couldn’t read the news, catch up on their favorite celebs, check restaurant reviews or watch reruns of their favorite episodes of Game of Thrones.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has issued repeated warnings that these types of attacks could become more frequent, as, recently, “how-to” code for these attacks was published online.
Before Friday, if you had asked most folks if they knew about companies like Dyn, that acted as middlemen in the transfer of information on the ‘net, they would have likely just shook their heads. Knowing just how vulnerable the internet actually is, creates visions of post-apocalyptic fear in many users who depend on the ‘net for their daily lives. If it’s that vulnerable, what could happen if someone really wanted to create a problem? How quickly could “we” be cut off from the world? Answer: very … and completely. And that freaks people out.
When the Egyptian government shut down the ‘net during the Arab Spring uprisings, fear was born in Westerners who had never given any thought to the idea that the internet may just abruptly stop working. But, as it does, that fear subsided. Now, thanks to what started as a brief annoyance, it’s back with a vengeance.