Earlier this morning I found that both The New Yorker website and Twitter were down. They're back up now, and Gizmodo says that unlike past incidents where an Amazon server outage took out dozens of sites, this wasn't a server error. Instead, this was an attack on a DNS provider:
Twitter, Spotify and Reddit, and a huge swath of other websites were down or screwed up this morning. This was happening as hackers unleashed a large distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the servers of Dyn, a major DNS host. It’s probably safe to assume that the two situations are related.
Domain Name Servers (DNS) act as the Internet’s phone book. Basically, they facilitate your request to go to a certain webpage and make sure you are taken to the right place. If the DNS provider that handles requests for Twitter is down, well, good luck getting to Twitter. Some websites are coming back for some users, but it doesn’t look like the problem is fully resolved.
The weird thing is this problem didn't impact everyone; mobile users that they could still get to the affected sites. (This will be good to know for next time.)
The list of inaccessible sites include CNN, Reddit, Wired, Recode Paypal, Urban Dictionary, Starbucks, Spotify, Twitter, and many others.
A spot check of some of the affected sites shows that I can access them now; can you?
image by liako