Unless you took a personal spa day today, you know by now that Twitter, Shopify, Etsy, Reddit, Heroku and Netflix all either went down or weren’t functioning properly anymore after hackers unleashed an aggressive denial of service (DDoS) attack on the major DNS hosting server, Dyn, on Friday morning. The first attack was primarily centred in the eastern United States, while the second attack caused outages in Europe. As a consequence the rest of the world became a little light-headed.

You’ll find a lot of very tech-lingo explanations about what’s going on but basically, what happened is this: Someone or some-’bot’ essentially targeted one of the internet’s largest phone books. Imagine you’re typing Shopify.com on your browser. Normally, the DNS servers would turn that URL into a unique IP address and then connect you to that site’s content. Tada. Well, that’s exactly what didn’t happen anymore due to the attack. Correction: Attacks.

This morning’s cyberattack targeted Dyn’s Domain Name System (DNS) management services which provides services to a large number of companies. When a DNS provider gets hacked, parts of the DNS system stops working and so all of those companies’s webpages were inaccessible.

Twitter DDoS

The first wave of the attack struck this morning around 9am EST, the second one hit around 12:00pm EST. While Shopify is reporting on their Facebook page that the situation on their end has “nearly returned to normal”, Twitter is still down and the world is wondering about the hackers behind this strike and how they did it.

“While this is an extreme case, DDoS attacks are becoming more common every day,” says Brock Murray, seoplus+ COO. “One service that can help mitigate the risk and the consequence of a DDoS attack is CloudFlare. They are one of the largest protection networks in the world. Not only does their service provide built-in security, it also improves website performance with their content delivery network (CDN), site optimization and load balancing. We highly recommend CloudFlare to many of our clients.”

For Shopify clients who want to track the status of their sites, go to https://status.shopify.com/. This page tracks incidents and problems and gives updates on fixes.

Find a full list of affected websites and stay tuned on current updates about the ongoing cyber crisis on Gizmodo.

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