Recently, during the evening hours, I lost my internet service connection. Our internet is provided by the local cable company and has been exceptionally dependable. Initial reboots/resets of my modem and router failed to recover the service. My gut instinct told me this was not a typical loss of service. Many folks in my neighborhood also lost their digital phone service, which caused panic to set in. I later learned the attack affected over 40 percent of their customer base (including businesses). After several days, the service was eventually restored. The culprit was a “malicious and targeted attack from outside our network,” in a DDos attack (distributed denial of service) where the service was intentionally flooded with data sent simultaneously from many individual computers. I knew something to this effect was going on due that it got to a point I could reboot the equipment and regain service for a short period of time; then, it would drop out again.
All in all, when done, and the service was restored, I learned some things:
DON’T PANIC… We live in a digital world that we are dependent on, where the source of service if attacked, can bring down the whole house, affecting many people and many types of internet-connected devices. BE PREPARED… Learn how to reboot your equipment. Communicate with the neighbors or family to determine if they have service. A cell phone, in this case for many people, provided phone AND internet service. If you have a neighbor who has no cell phone, be the good neighbor. Follow the local news to see if it is widespread. Learn where (online) you can determine the status of the network you are connected to. In my case, I used my cell phone to get updates online from the cable company, instead of calling them on their overwhelmed customer service lines. I then passed this information on to my neighbors. When the service is restored, help each other to get the equipment back up and running. I ended up helping others reset their modems and testing to make sure they had their phone and internet service back; thus, saving them the expense of a service call (which may have taken days to get an onsite response).
In the end, I think what bothered me the most was seeing sneering comments online where people were complaining of the service going down. Having managed a computer network for a government agency, I had visions of IT people working (24/7) stressing out over this to bring back service; which, they eventually did. Also, this is concerning from the standpoint, and has to be questioned, “Is our country really prepared for these cyber attacks and is the proper funding being provided to provide the necessary defense measures?”.