A Massive Cyberattack Wiped Out Major Websites This AM, Amidst Fears of Campaign Season Blackout

Friday morning, a huge swath of Americans awoke to find that some of the Internet’s most popular websites were down.

In what’s been described as a “massive cyberattack,” sites like Twitter, Amazon, Spotify, Reddit, and Github were unable to load.

While outages have been reported worldwide, it mainly affected the East Coast of the United States:

The outage appears to be the result of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, which is “an attempt to flood a website with so much traffic that it impairs normal service.”

The DDoS attack targeted Dyn — a company that manages website domains — leaving users unable to connect to many of their favorite sites.

Though Dyn said that it had restored many of its services to normal before noon on Friday, many users continue to experience issues.

The outage comes just weeks after Congress failed to stop a measure by the Obama administration that gave up U.S. control of the internet.

As Townhall.com reports:

“The Obama Administration’s unilateral (and now, irreversible) decision transfers control over the free internet to a private entity over which the United States has minimal, if any influence; leaving the door open to countries like Iran, Russia, China and Syria to exert ‘public policy’ input on the manner by which the internet is managed.”

While the source of the outage is not yet clear, it also comes amid fears of Russian hacker attacks, including on the White House, the Democratic National Committee, and the Clinton campaign.

Just a few weeks ago, in early October, the U.S. government officially accused Russia of hacking campaigns to interfere with elections.

Similarly, officials in Ecuador announced earlier this week that it had cut off internet access to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, citing concerns “that he was using it to interfere in the U.S. presidential election.”

With America on the verge of electing its next Commander-in-Chief, it’s not hard to see how any such potentially targeted attacks could wreak havoc, blacking out campaign websites, online communications, or worse, electronic voting machines or tabulation systems.

UPDATE: The affected area spread nationwide and into Western Europe from the early afternoon into Friday evening.

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UPDATE: Via Gizmodo, the following websites were hit, including Democratic fundraising website ActBlue, and major news websites Fox News, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Vox, and CNN.com:

  • ActBlue
  • Basecamp
  • Big cartel
  • Box
  • Business Insider
  • CNN
  • Cleveland.com
  • Etsy
  • Github
  • Grubhub
  • Guardian.co.uk
  • HBO Now
  • Iheart.com (iHeartRadio)
  • Imgur
  • Intercom
  • Intercom.com
  • Okta
  • PayPal
  • People.com
  • Pinterest
  • Playstation Network
  • Recode
  • Reddit
  • Seamless
  • Spotify
  • Squarespace Customer Sites
  • Starbucks rewards/gift cards
  • Storify.com
  • The Verge
  • Twillo
  • Twitter
  • Urbandictionary.com (lol)
  • Weebly
  • Wired.com
  • Wix Customer Sites
  • Yammer
  • Yelp
  • Zendesk.com
  • Zoho CRM
  • Credit Karma
  • Eventbrite
  • Netflix
  • NHL.com
  • Fox News
  • Disqus
  • Shopify
  • Soundcloud
  • Atom.io
  • Ancestry.com
  • ConstantContact
  • Indeed.com
  • New York Times
  • Weather.com
  • WSJ.com
  • time.com
  • xbox.com
  • dailynews.com
  • Wikia
  • donorschoose.org
  • Wufoo.com
  • Genonebiology.com
  • BBC
  • Elder Scrolls Online
  • Eve Online
  • PagerDuty
  • Kayak
  • youneedabudget.com
  • Speed Test
  • Freshbooks
  • Braintree
  • Blue Host
  • Qualtrics
  • SBNation
  • Salsify.com
  • Zillow.com
  • nimbleschedule.com
  • Vox.com
  • Livestream.com
  • IndieGoGo
  • Fortune
  • CNBC.com
  • FT.com
  • Survey Monkey
  • Paragon Game
  • Runescape

It has also been reported that at least three DDoS waves of attacks have been unleashed using “millions” of IP addresses, continuing into Friday afternoon.

A trial run for election day?

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Image Credit: Andrea Rentz/Getty Images

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