Cameras are to Blame for Breaking the Internet Last Week


A few weeks ago, we shared an article about how cameras were used to launch the largest cyber attack in history. Then last week, a massive cyber attack quite literally broke the Internet. So, how did the hackers do it? You guessed right: cameras.

On Friday, while several of the biggest websites in the world were down for hours at a time, you didn’t need to look far to find the culprit. Maybe the top of your computer monitor, or the corner of your baby room.

According to several sources, the so-called “Internet of Things”—including, at least in part, unsecured cameras made by Chinese company XiongMai Technologies—was behind the outage. It’s the exact same story from Frank McKenna’s article on PetaPixel a few weeks ago: security cameras and webcams, their default passwords unchanged, were easy prey for hackers looking to build a massive “robot army” of Internet-connected stuff capable of taking down the popular DNS provider Dyn.

In fact, the exact same malware strain used in that original attack, called Mirai, was used here.

Downdetector published this image showing the outages caused by Friday's cyber attack.
Downdetector published this image showing the outages caused by Friday’s cyber attack.

It’s possible that other so-called “botnets” were involved in this massive attack, but one of and one of the most powerful botnets used was made up of these hacked cameras, all trying to access the same websites at the same time, bringing them to their knees. CNN, Twitter, Spotify, The New York Times, and others were affected, giving you an idea of just how much fake traffic these cameras produced.

As Allison Nixon, director of research at security firm Flashpoint, said last week: “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.”

It’s not exactly “skynet” just yet, but it seems the first zombie robot army is here… and it’s made of cameras.

(via Bloomberg)

Image credits: Webcam by David Burillo.