'Nice Internet You've Got There... You Wouldn't Want Something To Happen To It...'

from the this-is-no-longer-theoretical dept

Last month, we wrote about Bruce Schneier's warning that certain unknown parties were carefully testing ways to take down the internet. They were doing carefully configured DDoS attacks, testing core internet infrastructure, focusing on key DNS servers. And, of course, we've also been talking about the rise of truly massive DDoS attacks, thanks to poorly secured Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and ancient, unpatched bugs.

That all came to a head this morning when large chunks of the internet went down for about two hours, thanks to a massive DDoS attack targeting managed DNS provider Dyn. Most of the down sites are back (I'm still having trouble reaching Twitter), but it was pretty widespread, and lots of big name sites all went down. Just check out this screenshot from Downdetector showing the outages on a bunch of sites:
You'll see not all of them have downtime (and the big ISPs, as always, show lots of complaints about downtimes), but a ton of those sites show a giant spike in downtime for a few hours.

So, once again, we'd like to point out that this is as problem that the internet community needs to start solving now. There's been a theoretical threat for a while, but it's no longer so theoretical. Yes, some people point out that this is a difficult thing to deal with. If you're pointing people to websites, even if we were to move to a more distributed system, there are almost always some kinds of chokepoints, and those with malicious intent will always, eventually, target those chokepoints. But there has to be a better way -- because if there isn't, this kind of thing is going to become a lot worse.

Filed Under: attack, ddos, dns, internet, vulnerabilities
Companies: dyn


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  1. icon
    TKnarr (profile), 21 Oct 2016 @ 11:25am

    Re:

    It requires a number of things on the infrastructure side. Standard practice with IoT needs to be to have the devices on a separate non-Internet-connected network which requires the cooperation of router makers and users. Consumer routers need to implement RFC 3704 egress filtering by default. ISPs need to implement 3704 filtering on the customer side (the head-ends and/or CPE depending on physical configuration) and on the upstream side. Upstream networks need to implement 3704 filtering even if it means reconfiguring their topology to separate the non-transit parts of their network from the transit network. All parties involved need to stop depending on other parties to do the work and configure their own networks as if their measures are the only thing standing in the way of a massive DDoS attack. And finally, targeted parties need to be able to hold the originating and intermediate networks financially liable for all the costs involved, not just the small fraction of the access bill for the downtime, when those networks failed to enforce 3704 compliance.

    That won't stop all of it, but it'll stop a huge portion of it. The rest can only really be dealt with by forcing end users (consumer or business) to clean up infected/compromised systems on their networks. Given the intransigence of the average end-user (whether a consumer or a company's IT management) I don't see anything short of big sticks wielded effectively having any effect.


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