Software that enables anyone to overwhelm a web site and knock it off the internet has been published online.
(CCM) — Security researchers and website operators are bracing themselves for attacks directed at them over the internet by hackers. This follows the revelation that software that enables hackers to launch a specific type of attack has been uploaded to a hacker chat forum for anyone to use, according to a BBC report. The software, called "Mirai," enables users to direct massive amounts of internet traffic to a web site of their choice to overwhelm it and knock it offline in what is known as a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. It works by searching the internet for smart devices such as webcams and thermostats that are protected by weak passwords, taking them over, and then making them bombard the victim's site with unwanted data. Mirai is believed to be responsible for a massive attack on the web site of security blogger Brian Krebs that sent over 620 gigabits of data to his site every second, rendering it unreachable.
The rise in popularity of internet-connected smart devices — sometimes known as Internet of Things or IoT devices — is becoming a major security problem because many users fail to change the factory default passwords. That makes it easy for hackers to use software such as Mirai to take over a large number of these devices very quickly. Website owners are sometimes threatened with a DDoS attack by criminals unless they agree to pay a fee to avoid it.
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