If you’re having trouble booting up Spotify or getting on Twitter today, you’re far from alone. Across the US, reports are flooding in that major websites are down or impossible to reach, and it’s because of a mysterious attack on a fundamental piece of the internet.
Earlier this morning, Dyn, a major Managed DNS provider, reported it was being targeted by a distributed denial-of-service attack, or DDoS attack. If you’re not up on your acronyms, DNS is short for domain name system: Think of it like the contacts list of the internet, a way to get crucial information your computer needs to load a website. A distributed denial of service attack is essentially hosing a website with so much spam that it can’t keep up. This attack is making it impossible for Dyn to do its job, making it impossible for your computer to access sites, because the data to do so simply isn’t there.
It doesn’t appear that any site is offline completely, although the problem also appears to be getting worse as the morning wears on. As to who’s doing it and why, there hasn’t been any of the usual theatrics yet. The impact seems largely limited to commercial sites, although sites like Basecamp and Zendesk have been affected by the outage. We’ll see what unfolds as the day wears on.