23Feb

Why The Internet Can't Function Without DNS

Posted by B. Hale

On October 21, 2016, huge swathes of the American Internet shut down unexpectedly. In the run-up to the 2016 election, this proved yet another hacker-related shock that deeply rattled the U.S. public. Most Internet users take it for granted that they will be able to access their favorite websites at any time. When users suddenly found themselves unable to access some of the most popular and dynamic sites available, this caused a great deal of consternation.

In order to understand how this catastrophic Internet blackout could happen, first you have to understand domain name servers (DNS). Essentially, these are the digital phone books of the Internet. DNS providers make sure that every time you enter a Web address into your browser's search bar, you virtually travel to the exact website you wish to access.

DDoS Attacks
Unknown hackers caused the Internet blackout we previously mentioned. The exact method these hackers used was the distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack. This nefarAious ploy is one of the most powerful tools in the hacker toolkit. Internet servers can only process so many inbound requests at one time, which explains why sites shut down when they are inundated with sudden spikes in traffic. In a DDoS attack, hackers infect random computers and unite them into massive, impromptu networks. This represents a true violation of privacy and property rights. It is possible that your own computer was once hijacked in this way without your knowledge or consent. After all, it takes computer expertise to positively identify intrusions such as this.

After the hackers create this illegal network of unwitting accomplices, the entire network is directed to access a targeted website. In the face of such an enormous onslaught of server requests, the targeted server typically shuts down. Crises of this type are reversible and temporary in nature. Nevertheless, even a short interruption of service can cause direct financial damage for a Web-based organization. During the famous DDoS attack we previously mentioned, hackers temporarily crippled popular sites like Twitter, Spotify and PayPal. Nationwide, Internet security is nowhere near where it needs to be. DDoS attacks demonstrate just how fragile the DNS system can be. To address the glaring security deficits threatening important websites, public and private actors must work together. In the public sector, law enforcement agencies should do more to attract talented young minds to their Internet crime divisions.

Even a cursory survey of popular American culture reveals widespread sympathy for hacker groups. All to often, criminal hackers are idealized as principled objectors engaged in civil disobedience. This romanticized view of hacking is totally unrealistic and wrong. In reality, criminal hackers are crass mercenaries who lack integrity. The www.bluecatnetworks.com website may be able to provide you with more information.