Did Hackers Use Internet-Connected Home Devices to Attack Popular Websites?

  • On Friday, web-connected home devices were used by hackers and released a malware called Mirai to launch attacks on websites.
    (Photo: Photo: ICT Blog’s/YouTube)

Hackers are on to something again. Over the years, the World Wide Web has been the biggest bridge of communication of internet users, and this doesn’t mean that they are not vulnerable to hackers.

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Internet-connected home devices like printers, DVRs (Digital Video Recorder), routers and security/CCTV cameras were used by the hackers in attacking popular websites such as Spotify, Reddit, and Twitter reports BBC News. These websites were taken offline on Friday following the attacks.

A DNS service (Domain Name System) Dyn was used by these websites and it was the target of the attack as it will direct the users to where the website is stored. Hackers used the home devices that are web-connected since these have usernames and passwords that are easy to guess. Flashpoint, a security firm also confirmed that the assault against Dyn DNS were “botnets compromised by Mirai malware”. They are still closely monitoring this undertaking and have been coordinating with law enforcement.

Brian Kreb is an American journalist and investigative reporter, and his website Krebs on Security was also attacked by Mirai malware in Sept. 2016. The hacker who was tagged as “Anna_Senpai” released the source code online and was copied by other hackers to create their own botnets so they can launch a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.

“Mirai scours the Web for IoT (Internet of Things) devices protected by little more than factory-default usernames and passwords, and then enlists the devices in attacks that hurl junk traffic at an online target until it can no longer accommodate legitimate visitors or users”, Brian Kreb wrote on his blog.

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“It’s remarkable that virtually an entire company’s product line has just been turned into a botnet that is now attacking the United States,” said Allison Nixon, Flashpoint’s director of research. She also added that those home devices used in the attacks were made by XiongMai Technologies, a Chinese hi-tech company.