Digital Disaster: Cyber Attack Across America

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – There’s a simple reason you couldn’t get onto popular sites like Twitter, Netflix, Paypal, and others Friday. Hackers used the so-called “Internet of Things,” like your networked baby monitor, refrigerator, or printer, to flood the sites’ provider with so much Internet traffic, they buckled.

The motive for the hack is far more complicated, and likely, more sinister. “I’m incredibly concerned right now,” says Theresa Payton. She is the founder and CEO of Fortalice Solutions, a Charlotte-based cyber security firm.

She says the top three reasons for this type of Distributed Denial of Service, or DDoS, attack are:

1. Activists upset about the election want to impact the Internet.
2. Cybercriminals created the diversion so they could attack somewhere else.
3. Hackers are practicing for their ideal target.

“What are they really after? Is it the election? Is it the holiday shopping process? What are they after,” says Payton.

Think about it: impacting American’s day-to-day activities via online commerce could be crippling.

Payton predicts it’s highly likely that we’ll see another DDoS attack before election day. She urges everyone to prepare for digital disasters. Could your business stand up another domain name to connect with your customers? Could you get important information, even something like directions, without relying on the Internet?

Payton says, “This is a case of the bad guys are one step ahead of the good guys. We gotta hurry up and get ahead of this.”

Who those bad guys are, is up to the Department of Homeland Security to find out. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Friday, “They’ll take a close look at it, but at this point, I don’t have any information to share about who may be responsible for this malicious activity.”

The FBI is also investigating. The attack Friday came in waves: the first just after 7 AM, the second just before noon and the third around 5 PM.