If you like to ease your way into the day by flipping on some Spotify tunes and checking out your Twitter feeds and favorite Reddit forums, Friday morning was probably pretty miserable. That's because those sites, and dozens of others, experienced annoying disruptions (or were down completely for some) as a large distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack took place on a major domain host company, Gizmodo reports. Then, just a couple of hours after host Dyn announced it had restored everything to normal, a second strike against its infrastructure came through. DownDetector.com's outage map showed huge red blotches across the parts of the US, with the East Coast getting slammed the hardest.
Gizmodo lays out the technical explainer, labeling DNS (domain name server) hosts as the "internet's phone book," serving as a conduit to bring users to certain websites. If a DNS host like Dyn goes down or is otherwise adversely affected, it can have repercussions for all of the sites under its umbrella. The Krebs on Security blog, meanwhile, describes a DDoS attack, defining it as "when crooks use a large number of hacked or ill-configured systems to flood a target site with so much junk traffic that it can no longer serve legitimate visitors." Gizmodo lists all of the sites apparently plagued with issues Friday, while the Atlantic ponders an even more dire situation: what would happen if something like this took place on Election Day. (A hacker hated NYC so much he took New York magazine offline.)