OK, as one of the least technical people on staff, I’m going to attempt to explain why the internet is such a sluggish colon of nonsense today.
(It’s probably not aliens.)
OK, it’s an international hacking conspiracy.
Basically there’s been a DDoS attack (distributed denial of service) on Dyn. Dyn is a huge provider of DNS (domain name system) which associates domain names with the information associated with those names. As Gizmodo puts it, it’s the internet’s phone book. A DDoS attack floods this and overwhelms it, so like me when both kids are screaming, the dog is eating the furniture, I’m trying to get work done and I remember Donald Trump exists, shit shuts down. Everything goes broken and stupid and it’s bad.
That’s what happened today to Dyn, which handles the DNS for basically every site that matters to us—PayPal, Squarespace, Reddit, Imgur, of course Twitter. Gizmodo has a list of sites readers have highlighted as impacted and it’s basically all of them.
So the natural answer is “fuck, we’re hacked, we’re all gonna die.” We don’t actually know. And it’s not as simple as “I can’t get the GIF I want, my life is OVER” though that was basically my entire morning. With the Internet of Things, this impacts our phones, our security systems, our cars, everything. Even if today comes and goes with little to no consequence but minor annoyance, it’s pretty bad news.
So, um, have a great day. Go look at funny GI—oh, wait, ya can’t.