Non-state actors behind internet attacks

Wall Street Journal:
U.S. officials and security researchers said it doesn’t appear that national governments were behind Friday’s massive internet attack, which briefly blocked access to dozens of popular websites such as PayPal, Twitter and Netflix.

National Intelligence Director James Clapper said Tuesday that it appeared a “nonstate actor” was behind the attack, which used a vast collection of internet-linked devices to create a flood of traffic that essentially overwhelmed a key cog in the internet.

Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Tuesday, Mr. Clapper said investigators were gathering a lot of data, and that preliminary indications were that it was a nonstate actor.

Network experts studying the attack are also starting to rule out usual suspects, such as national governments and online blackmailers. That suggests, they said, the attack was another cry for attention by online attack-for-hire services and their customers looking to make a statement.

Researchers at Flashpoint and Level 3 Communications Inc.confirmed some of the attack was directed by a server using Mirai code, the latest variant of software that infects cameras, digital video recorders and other “smart” machines. Many connected devices ship with usernames and passwords that their owners never change, making them potential targets to be used to launch an attack.
It appears that the US has constructed an internet system that is vulnerable to teenagers out to make a point.  There is something wrong with this picture and the government needs to get manufacturers to make it harder for people who do not own equipment to take it over and use to attack others.


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