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Cyber attacks shut down Twitter, other websites in U.S. East

Twitter, PayPal and some other major websites were shut down on the U.S. East Coast for several hours on Friday as an American Internet service provider called Dyn and Amazon's web services unit were hit by waves of cyber attacks.

Dyn, headquartered in New Hampshire, said in posts on its website that its Domain Name System (DNS) infrastructure suffered a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack starting at 7:10 a.m. EDT (1110 GMT).

A DDoS attack is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources, and the company said the attack is "mainly impacting U.S. East."

About two hours later, Dyn said "services have been restored to normal."

But it wasn't over. The company confirmed that a second DDoS attack took place at 11:52 a.m. EDT (1552 GMT).

"This DDoS attack may also be impacting Dyn Managed DNS advanced services with possible delays in monitoring," it said.

In an update posted at 5:37 p.m. EDT (2137 GMT), Dyn said its engineers "continue to investigate and mitigate several attacks aimed against the Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure."

Amazon Web Services (AWS), a unit of that hosts many of the web's popular destinations including Netflix, reported an attack that also affected people on the U.S. East Coast around the same time in the morning.

"Between 4:31 AM (1131 GMT) and 6:10 AM PDT (1310 GMT), we experienced errors resolving the DNS hostnames used to access some AWS services in the US-EAST-1 Region," the company said on its website.

But this issue has been resolved and the service is now operating normally, it noted.

Digital payments company PayPal was one of the companies that admitted experiencing brief interruptions in service due to the attack.

"We're sorry for the inconvenience," PayPal tweeted.

Currently, it's unknown who was behind the attacks.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is monitoring this situation and will take a close look at it.

"But at this point, I don't have any information to share about who may be responsible for that malicious activity," Earnest told reporters.

A senior U.S. intelligence official told NBC News their current assessment is that this is "a classic case of internet vandalism."

The official was quoted as saying that it does not appear at this point to be any kind of state-sponsored or directed attacks.

[Source: Xinhua, Washington, 21Oct16]

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small logoThis document has been published on 25Oct16 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.