Ongoing cyber attack hits Twitter, Amazon, other top websites

The groups have also reportedly taken credit in the past for high-profile attacks they did not perform.

It began on Friday morning in the U.S., when Dyn, a company that that provides domain name services to these familiar internet brands reportedly being hit by a globally distributed-denial-of-service attack.

Dyn's services are part of the infrastructure of the internet, directing users to its client websites.

Sites including coder hangout Github said they briefly experienced problems, although it was not immediately clear whether the issues were linked to the cyberattack.

All the firms are customers of a company called Dyn, which they use to help users find their sites online.

Another attack started later that day, which Dyn said used the same tactics as the first.

"Someone is extensively testing the core defensive capabilities of the companies that provide critical Internet services", Schneier warned. It remained unknown who was responsible for the attacks.

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"Our engineers are continuing to investigate and mitigate several attacks aimed against the Dyn Managed DNS infrastructure", Dyn said on its website.

It was another large scale DDoS attack, this time able to prevent many Internet users in the US from accessing popular sites and online services in its path, such as Amazon, Netflix, Reddit, Spotify, Twitter, and Tumblr.

Both Level 3 and Flashpoint have said copycat hackers have been trying to exploit the Mirai code since it was publicly released.

By flooding Dyn's systems with unprecedented amounts of illegitimate internet traffic, attackers successfully sidelined its DNS services three separate times on Friday and caused widespread outages across Europe and North America and prompting a response from the White House; at a briefing Friday afternoon, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security officials were both "monitoring the situation" and "investigating all potential causes". The company confirmed that a second DDoS attack took place at 11.52am (local time).

What's different about this DDOS attack?

"Mirai scours the Web for IoT devices protected by little more than factory-default usernames and passwords, and then enlists the devices in attacks that hurl junk traffic at an online target until it can no longer accommodate legitimate visitors or users", cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs wrote on his blog.

The attacks were carried out partly through the "internet of things" - physical devices like printers and appliances connected to the internet.

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