Americans on the East Coast were shocked today when they were momentarily forced to look up from their computers and mobile devices and communicate directly with other humans in person. In this stunning display of depravity and human suffering, an unknown group of hackers launched a massive cyber-attack which took down some of the world’s most highly trafficked websites.
The Department of Homeland Security is urgently investigating the attack which shut down service, mostly on the East Coast to users logging onto Amazon, AirBnb, Twitter, Spotify and Reddit.
Primary reports suggest that the hackers launched what is known as a Denial of Service or DDoS attack which is an old hacking method where the attackers take control of computer networks. This is done by overloading servers with requests, thus getting them to shut down. So who would want to do this? Russia? China? Julian Assange and Wikileaks taking revenge for having their Internet access cut off?
The Break team of investigators has not ruled out Russia. We are not saying it is NOT Russia, but at this point nobody knows for sure. However we do have some suspects who have some striking motives for wanting these digital services to be taken out. One of the websites that went down during Friday’s attack was UrbanDictionary.com. Now who would want to stop people from looking up the definition of what an “Alabama Hot Pocket” means? The Merriam Webster Dictionary people, that’s who.
Possible Culprits In The October 2016 Massive Cyber Attack
From 2004 to 2007 sales of ALL English language dictionaries plummeted by upwards of 40 percent. With Google and sites like Urban Dictionary providing free and easy answers for anyone needing a word definition, Merriam Webster is a prime suspect. Plus maybe now they will get to stop adding Internet slang words to the dictionary like “LOL.”
Blockbuster Home Video
There are currently 11 Blockbuster store location operating in the United States. 7 of these locations are in Alaska, two in Texas and two in Oregon. Previously Blockbuster operated 9,000 stores with over 60,000 employees. Nobody cares about the plight of the VHS rental store workers who lost their jobs to services like Netflix! However, with sites like Amazon Video down, those last remaining Blockbuster locations may have gotten a boost in visitors. Well played, Bluckbuster!
When AirBnB went down I bet, no doubt that there was an uptick in bookings for old school hotels and motels like Motel 6. “We’ll leave a light on for you.” Just not your internet connection so you can go sleep in a stranger’s bed for half the price to stay at Motel 6.
The Sears catalogue used to be a huge source of mail ordered goods back in the day. However with Amazon putting ordering at your fingertips, the iconic Sears catalogue has gone the way of the VHS tape. With East Coast Amazon orders at a standstill thanks to the hack, I am confident consumers have dusted off their Sears catalogues to order some long johns for the coming cold winter months.
With millions of Internet users losing their collective minds over the fact that Twitter was down this morning, some folks were smiling. Twitter provides links to news, with a constant stream of information. Something newspapers and publishers used to do. So who do I think might have been behind the cyber-attack? Good old Hearst Publishing.
One of the first industries to be hit the hardest by the new digital age was music. So one of biggest suspects Homeland Security should be looking at right now is the music industry from 1999. Now that Spotify is down, the compact discs must be flying off the shelves.
Follow Phil Haney on Twitter @PhilHaney