BALTIMORE (WJZ) — In a vicious cyber attack Friday, the internet was under siege as hackers took down major websites across the US and Europe.
The investigation is ongoing but we’re now getting a better picture of how these attack were carried out.
So far a hacker group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although that hasn’t been verified. However, the attack is that our own internet connected devices like cameras and even kids toys were hijacked to help carry out the shut down.
They are some of most visited sites on the net: Twitter, Reddit, Spotify, Airbnb, Netflix, and Visa.
Early Friday the sites were essentially shut down as a part of a siege on the internet that even the White House couldn’t explain.
At one point, even the FBI’s website was affected.
“At this point I don’t have any information to share who may be responsible for that malicious activity,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.
The attack was directed against a major internet host: New Hampshire-based Dyn Inc.
While you may not know the company, you do know the sites the company serves, like Twitter.
The attack is known as a distributed denial of service or DDOS.
Junk traffic coming from hijacked internet-connected devices like our computers, DVRs and even baby monitors can clog the internet and slow major websites.
“These millions of PCs are our PCs — they have been taken over, these are botnets,” said Towson University cyber security expert Sidd Kaza.
Millions of people’s computers were both being affected– and were the cause of the problem.
“Finding me is not going to help. All that will tell you is my PC was compromised,” said Kaza.
Kaza says the answer can only be found by “finding who compromised it. And of course, if this is a real criminal attack, then they’re hiding their tracks as well.”
One homeland security expert tells CBS News, Russia will certainly be looked at.
“Is this sort of a brush back pitch from the Russians sending us a message that we should pretty careful about engaging in this sort of cyber activity with them,” said Homeland Security Expert Fran Townsend.
One internet performance-monitoring group called the disruption one of these worst outages they’ve ever seen.
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security say they’re investigating all potential causes behind the attack.