How a Dorm Room Minecraft Scam Brought Down the Internet

THE MOST DRAMATIC cybersecurity story of 2016 came to a quiet conclusion Friday in an Anchorage courtroom, as three young American computer savants pleaded guilty to masterminding an unprecedented botnet—powered by unsecured internet-of-things devices like security cameras and wireless routers—that unleashed sweeping attacks on key internet services around the globe last fall. What drove them wasn’t anarchist politics or shadowy ties to a nation-state.

It was Minecraft.

  • Drunk by Noon ✓

    “…nearly all traditional DDoS mitigation techniques collapsed, in part because the tidal wave of nefarious traffic would crash so many sites and servers en route to its main target. “DDOS at a certain scale poses an existential threat to the internet,” Peterson says. “Mirai was the first botnet I’ve seen that hit that existential level.”

    That’s was a pretty imaginative exploit and some real “sorcerer’s apprentice” stuff, that went completely sideways.

  • ECM

    Mirai shocked the internet—and its own creators, according to the FBI—with its power as it grew.

    This is how SkyNet got started…