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Domains, DNS And DDoS Attacks

December 18, 2017

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One of the first times I started feeling interested in understanding the internet was when I heard it was 'broken'.This has happened various times, but once such time was when a DDos attack happened and everyone was talking about how the internet broke. But how? How could in the internet break?

To understand this, here are a few cool things to know, and then it makes sense:

Domains. Here's a domain: madisonkanna.com, which you're on right now. Domain names are used to identify IP addresses.

IP addresses. Domains are just nice containers over IP addresses. Our brains can't remember an IP address (like 172.16.254.1.) So instead, we have Madisonkanna.com, the domain name that wraps over the IP address. Voila! So easy to remember now.

DNS: Domain name servers are the phonebook of the internet. (If you don't remember what a phonebook is since none are around anymore, google that...) They essentially draw an arrow from your IP address to your domain name. So if you looked up 'Madisonkanna.com' in the internet's phonebook, you could find my IP address. Just like my name and phone number in a phonebook.

Now to the broken-internet part...

So when the internet broke that time I heard about it, it was a DDoS attack. What the heck is that? It means an attack when the attacker targets a DNS server and the DNS was taken offline.So when someone went to type in Madisonkanna.com, this domain name could not be resolved to my IP address--no one could go to my site (oh, the horror!) or any site. And thus the internet was in a way broken--temporarily, at least.

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Hi, I'm Madison. I'm a self-taught software developer currently working @Mediavine. Sign up to my email list to get tips on learning how to code and a copy of my free coding course.