Attackers target, fail to down candidates' sites

Attackers target, fail to down candidates' sites
© Getty Images

Researchers say “unsophisticated actors” tried — and failed — to take down the websites of both major presidential nominees just ahead of Election Day. 

In a 16-hour stretch between Sunday and Monday, the security firm Flashpoint detected four distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) against the websites of Republican Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpHouse Democrat slams Donald Trump Jr. for ‘serious case of amnesia’ after testimony Skier Lindsey Vonn: I don’t want to represent Trump at Olympics Poll: 4 in 10 Republicans think senior Trump advisers had improper dealings with Russia MORE and Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonGrassley blasts Democrats over unwillingness to probe Clinton GOP lawmakers cite new allegations of political bias in FBI Top intel Dem: Trump Jr. refused to answer questions about Trump Tower discussions with father MORE. The attacks used the same open-source tool that briefly knocked Twitter and The New York Times offline on Oct. 21. 

DDoS attacks use vast networks of computers to flood a target with so much internet traffic that it can no longer function properly. 

Three of the four attacks targeted Trump’s site. Flashpoint noted that the attacks appear to be from unconnected attackers, though all four lasted 30 seconds. 

The Mirai tool used in the attempts on the candidates' websites was used in the October attack against Dyn, a company with a service akin to an internet switchboard. 

Mirai co-opts internet-of-things devices such as security cameras to use in attacks. Internet-of-things devices often have far less security than full computers, and there are now dozens of separate Mirai networks.

Since being released to the pubic, Mirai has been used against targets ranging from Minecraft servers to the lone cable connecting the country of Liberia to the greater internet.