Local woman says she lost business as a result of cyber attack

LITTLETON, Colo. -- A Littleton's woman Etsy based business was down for hours Friday morning as a result of cyber attacks on the internet traffic company Dyn.

Shawna Lammers was first tipped off to the problem on Facebook. Lammers runs an art business on Etsy called Shawna Lane Creations. Her friends on social media who run similar businesses posted an article saying some sites on the internet were shut down. When Lammers checked her website, she realized it was down.

"I went to my site and I couldn't get in," Lammers said. "It said server couldn't be found. So, we were were kind of up in the air on when it was going to come back."

Lammers said she missed out on half a day of sales which might've amounted to hundred of dollars in sales, since most of her sales are online.

"It's frustrating. This is what I do full time. This is how I help contribute to my family," Lammers said.

According to Dr. Steve Beaty, computer science professor at MSU, hackers were using what is called a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack.

"There's this system called the Domain Name System (DNS)," Beaty said. "Essentially it's the white pages of the internet. That is, I know the name of the place that I want to go, but the computer knows the number of the place I want to go."

Hackers sent hundreds of thousands of signals to the DNS of Dyn. The signals came from devices hackers have control of all over the world.

"Many of the devices that were attacking that website and were attacking the website today were like internet cameras, baby monitors and these sorts of things where people don't know they've been compromised," Beaty said. Whoever controls the signal can direct it at whatever DNS they want.

"So, that's the next step that we need to find out in our research is who controlled all of the machines that were attacking that particular one," Beaty said.

Beaty said he doesn't believe any personal information was compromised. However, it does show how vulnerable major companies can be to hackers.