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. 

ADVERTISEMENT
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 TrumpWSJ: Trump ignored advice to confront Putin over indictments Trump hotel charging Sean Spicer ,000 as book party venue Bernie Sanders: Trump 'so tough' on child separations but not on Putin MORE and Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBernie Sanders: Trump 'so tough' on child separations but not on Putin Anti-Trump protests outside White House continue into fifth night Opera singers perform outside White House during fourth day of protests 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.