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A 3rd wave of cyber attacks are hitting American websites today.  Earlier on Friday, a slew of popular websites were inaccessible to many users on the East Coast.   By the time the afternoon arrived, the blackout hit people across the country.  All of this came as a result of a company called Level 3 claiming its switchboard was under attack.

Twitter, Netflix, Spotify, Airbnb, Reddit, Etsy, SoundCloud and The New York Times are the biggest websites to be affected.

Dyn, whose servers monitor and reroute internet traffic, said it began experiencing what security experts call a distributed denial-of-service attack just after 7 a.m. The company, based in Manchester, N.H., said it had fended off the assault by 9:30 a.m. But by 11:52 a.m., Dyn said it was again under attack.

From the NY TIMES

A distributed denial-of-service attack, or DDoS, occurs when hackers flood the servers that run a target’s site with internet traffic until it stumbles or collapses under the load. Such attacks are common, but there is evidence they are becoming more powerful, more sophisticated and increasingly aimed at core internet infrastructure providers.

Going after companies like Dyn can cause far more damage than aiming at a single website.

Dyn is one of a number of outfits that host the Domain Name System, or DNS, which functions as a switchboard for the internet. The DNS translates user-friendly web addresses like fbi.gov into numerical addresses that allow computers to speak to one another. Without the DNS servers operated by internet service providers, the internet could not operate.

In this case, the attack was aimed at the Dyn infrastructure that supports internet connections. While the attack did not affect the websites themselves, it blocked or slowed users trying to gain access to those sites.

Kyle York, Dyn’s chief strategist, said in an interview Friday morning during a lull in the attacks that the assaults on its servers were complex.

“This was not your everyday DDos attack,” Mr. York said. “The nature and source of the attack is still under investigation. We will be updating our users as soon as we learn more.”

Mr. York said his company and others that host the core parts of the internet’s infrastructure were targets for a growing number of more powerful DDoS attacks.

As of 6pm EDT, a third wave of attack is being reported throughout the US. Currently, it is unknown who is behind the attack, and no country, hackers, or terror network have taken credit. All of this causes for massive concern as the election grows near. Is this a dry run? Could we see a massive outage on November 8? The answer is yes to both questions. Unfortunately, the U.S. is underprepared to stop this sort of attack.

Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia allow internet voting for overseas military and civilians.
A DDoS attack on Election Day will impact these votes and make a big difference in swing states.

Prior to entering the news and film industries, Dennis Michael Lynch was an award-winning entrepreneur who owned an operated a technology company with hundreds of employees and multiple locations throughout the U.S.  For years he has warned of cyber attacks, but in the same way his border warnings fell on deaf ears, so did the warnings of a cyber 911. Here is just one interview from a few years ago.

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