- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 25, 2016

President Obama said the White House hasn’t a clue who sidelined a critical part of the internet last week, but said he’s certain his successor will have have a sizable problem on their hands regarding cybersecurity.

During an appearance Monday on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live,” Mr. Obama said the cyberattack that caused widespread internet disruptions Friday in North America and Europe not only remains unattributed, but exemplifies a challenge the next president will have to approach head-on.

“We don’t have any idea who did that,” Mr. Obama said of Friday’s internet outages. “What is true is that we are all connected. We’re all wired now. One of the biggest challenges for the next president and the president after that and the president after that is going to be how do we continue to get all the benefits of being in cyberspace but protect our finances, protect our privacy.”

Internet users had a difficult time accessing of some the world’s most popular websites on Friday when several distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks were waged against Dyn, a U.S.-based company that plays a critical part in the internet’s infrastructure.

Dyn maintains a widely used Domain Name System (DNS), a digital directory that enables people to navigate the web by using domain names instead of numerical IP addresses. By overloading Dyn’s computers with huge surges of illegitimate internet traffic, attackers disrupted its DNS service and in turn made it difficult to reach major websites including Twitter, Netflix, Spotify and Reddit.

Security researchers who examined the DDoS attack say the wide-scale disruption was caused by common household devices capable of connecting to the internet, such as security cameras and digital video recorders (DVRs). Using freely available software, an attacker was able to locate and compromise millions of internet-connected devices and incorporate them into a network of infected machines, or “botnet,” that together waged a distributed assault on Dyn.

“It’s just so darn distributed,” Kyle York, Dyn’s chief strategy officer, told reporters Friday. “Literally, picture tens of millions of things attacking a data center. No matter the size and scale of the independent things, tens of millions of anything make up something large. And that’s the complexity of this.”

Mr. Obama told Mr. Kimmel that lawmakers won’t soon have an answer for cybersecurity problems like the one posed by Friday’s attacks.

“We’re going to have to come up with frameworks and some of its going to involve technology, some of it’s going to involve the law but this is going to be a big debate that we’re going to have for a long time,” Mr. Obama said.

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