Why did the internet feel broken today, as in major websites, like netflix and spotify, were not accessible?
I only experienced it through small glitches, some parts of twitter not properly loading, and then a lot of people talking about not being able to reach some websites like paypal, etc.. In this shared experience of an outtake of several major sites it had a bit a quality of a déjà vu to me, a connection to February in 2000, when distributed attacks directly brought down yahoo and amazon and others simultaneously, a digital riot. It was a curious experience that day also, all these new web services were not accessible.
Listen to this 1998 Q/A on youtube about denial of service attacks against critical national access structures, the hacker group L0pht there famously described in the US Senate how they could bring down the entire internet in 30 minutes (it’s at 15:30 in the video). Today was the same approach as they describe it. It was not about flooding the single websites like in 2000, a punch which the cloud-structures would nowadays easily take and nothing would visibly happen in the eyes of consumers.
Today it was like L0pht described it 20 years ago, the approach was to flood the access structure, on the domain name level. According to security specialists, there is a rise in these kind of attacks with a constant testing of new levels, most probably made possible by all the new forms of devices connected to the internet, all these “smart” things.
Code as literature. While the 2000 hacker that took out Amazon, Ebay and Yahoo with a bit-cannon went by the handle of MafiaBoy and named his attack “Rivolta”, italian for riot, the methods used in the 2016 attacks that brought down Netflix, Twitter and Paypal are traced to GayFgt aka LizKebab aka Bashdoor (because it’s a Bash bug, a new kind of backdoor) and the code has been released some weeks ago by Anna-Senpai under the title “Mirai”, which is japanese for future.
The point here is not to claim that L0pht were prophets in 1998, their point is just a simple explanation of how it is more harmful to attack infrastructure instead of bases. Guy Debord was teaching this with his Kriegsspiel in 1977, going back to Claussewitz and Napoleon.
What will come next:
(pic from the New Aesthetic tumblr)