First and foremost, what is a DDoS attack? DDoS stands for Distributed Denial of Service. Simply stated, this type of attack floods a given service with massive amounts of traffic from distributed sources making the service unavailable and the source difficult to pin down. As an example, if a hacker or hacker group wants to make a given web site unavailable, they can flood that site with so many requests that the site can’t keep up. As a result, the site becomes unavailable to people who are legitimately trying to use it.
It all started with reports of problems at mobile phone network T-Mobile
. Some reports indicated the difficulties extended to other mobile networks as well, but I can’t be certain if that’s accurate information. Like any rumor, especially those online, the rumor mill kicked in to high gear without a lot of fact to back it up.
There were reports that social media sites, online banking sites and others were all having problems yesterday. It was reported to be impacting users across the entire country, so not specific to any one area of the country. The group “Anonymous” jumped into the frey, claiming this to be a massive, coordinated attack of unknown origin.
As the dust settled and we moved from yesterday to today, some news outlets are reporting this event was nothing more than a mis-configuration attributed to the T-Mobile network and that reports of wider problems impacting other carriers and web sites were false. Some users have definitely reported problems with some sites yesterday, but as of now it is unclear if those issues were related, short lived or part of something broader.
So, was there a massive DDoS attack on the US Internet yesterday? It doesn’t appear so, but there are still active investigations underway to confirm one way or another. Time will tell.