How a Dorm Room Minecraft Scam Brought Down the Internet
THE MOST DRAMATIC cybersecurity story of 2016 came to a quiet conclusion Friday in an Anchorage courtroom, as three young American computer savants pleaded guilty to masterminding an unprecedented botnet - powered by unsecured internet-of-things devices like security cameras and wireless routers - that unleashed sweeping attacks on key internet services around the globe last fall. What drove them wasn't anarchist politics or shadowy ties to a nation-state. It was Minecraft.
It was a hard story to miss last year: In France last September, the telecom provider OVH was hit by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack a hundred times larger than most of its kind. Then, on a Friday afternoon in October 2016, the internet slowed or stopped for nearly the entire eastern United States, as the tech company Dyn, a key part of the internet's backbone, came under a crippling assault.