It is not an attack with bombs or airplanes. No one has been killed and property has not been damaged. It is, however, an attack on the most valuable thing that we have, something over a million people have gladly given their lives in the past to protect – our democracy.
This is a highly coordinated and sustained attack by a foreign power. It is still ongoing, and appears to have gradually grown more sophisticated over a period of years. There is reason to believe that will continue unless it is stopped.
Denial of this attack and the perpetrators who we certainly know are carrying it out, Vladimir Putin’s Russia, is hindering our response to this attack and making our democracy more vulnerable. That this effort to thwart our defenses and distract the public’s attention away from the threat comes from the very top of our leadership can only be described as treason.
This is hardly a new revelation, but it should be substantially more obvious. Paul Manafort was charged with “conspiracy against the United States,” a charge which is easy to read too much into. Then again, it’s easy to take it far too lightly.
It’s not a conventional war with bombs bursting in air, so it’s very easy to deny that the attack has happened at all. Aren’t we all able to go on with our daily lives? And the answer is a simple “yes”. That’s why it is essential that we understand the nature of the attack and why it is happening, both of which are not very obvious.
Thursday, 20 October, seemed like an ordinary day for many people. Waking up, getting the kids off to school, and driving to work all went like any other day. But once anyone tried to use the internet for anything, something seemed a bit off. Twitter was pretty much down all morning and a lot of email simply stopped flowing. Placing orders at companies was simply not working. Everything was at least … slow.
This was the day the largest yet Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack took place. The target appears to be Dyn, the company that provides instructions for routing traffic around the ‘net to keep it moving. But the exact target and who was doing the targeting remains a mystery. The attack actually continues, allbeit contained for now.
In order to understand today’s news and get a sense of what tomorrow’s news might be this attack is worth examining in what little detail we can muster. This is all far from over.