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A DDoS Attack Is Ruining the Internet for Parts of the U.S. and Europe

Don't panic.

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Having trouble using Twitter or watching Netflix? You’re not alone. Large portions of Internet users in the U.S. and in Europe are struggling to access several popular websites and services due to a massive DDoS attack. Isn’t technology fun?

The DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack is targeting DNS hosting company Dyn. What does that mean exactly? Well, in simple terms, Dyn’s servers accept your computer’s request to get an actual address to go along with whatever URL you type into your browser, and that address allows information to be routed back and forth between your computer and the servers a website actually lives on.

However, a DDoS attack floods a server like Dyn’s with a ton of useless requests, until the server can’t handle it anymore, and it crashes. DDoS attacks can be used to take out specific sites and services, but attacking a major DNS host like Dyn can result in what the Internet is seeing today, which is many Internet users having trouble connecting to a wide array of sites, because they can’t access the directory that tells their Internet traffic how to get where it’s going.

Attacks like these are difficult to fight, and “Internet of things” devices provide a huge harbor for malware used to amplify these attacks, so we could be looking at a problem that’s going to get worse before it gets better. This morning, the east coast of the United States was primarily affected, and after Dyn got that problem under control, another attack began in the afternoon, primarily affecting the U.S. west coast and Europe. (Gizmodo has a pretty handy list of sites and services that readers told them have been affected.)

Here’s a tweet displaying a map of the outage in the U.S., which you very well may not be able to see depending on where you are (spoiler: there are giant red patches over large portions of the east and west coast):

(image via NBC, featured image via Shutterstock/Dean Drobot)

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