Hackers are going to try and influence the U.S. election, and they'll try to use you to do it.
Two weeks ago an enormous distributed denial of service attack crashed the servers of Dyn, a domain name services company that lets users find their way around the internet. (As a brief recap, domain name services, or DNS, are what translate text URLs into a digital address that your computer and web servers can recognize.)
This attack was launched using a novel piece of malware that grabs traffic from internet-enabled devices like DVRs and thermostats to overwhelm a target's security. It's not the first time something like this has happened; denial of service attacks are common, but it does note a sea change in tactics. By grabbing hundreds of thousands of small devices the hackers unwittingly enlisted a massive number of consumers and their internet-of-things (IoT) devices into the hack.
While hackers have always used zombie bots, this is such a difference of degree as to be a difference of kind.
Now, experts say, hackers are gearing up to do the same thing again. This time the target is Tuesday's election.
"There's a number of different avenues to go own in terms of concern," said Neil Feather, president of SiteLock Web Security. "For me one of the big ones is the concerns about denial of service to infrastructure or something larger. There was obviously the big denial of service attack that happened a couple of weeks ago and there's a lot of speculation, I think well founded, that that was kind of a test for something more impactful."