Enslaved smart devices fucking up your sex chats

Smart TVs, internet connected refrigerators, remote view-able security cameras, net connected baby monitors, DVRs, Voice over IP / Internet Telephony systems; you, your family, and your neighbors have millions of these devices and many of them are acting as attack zombies.

slave-to-desire-digital-devices-zombie-makers

Our chats are not under direct attack, but the amount of internet congestion that is being created with these latest attacks against other people are slowing down huge chunks of the internet, and that is a problem for our chat systems that need to have a constant on / consistent connection in order to function properly.

There has been some reporting on these attacks lately, but not as much as I’d like to see.

Yahoo posted about an ARS tehnica report on November 2nd “Level 3 drops its packets for hours, causing Internet traffic jam” – however I don’t think most people know what “Level 3” is, and what seriously major fucking thing this is. Level 3 handles a huge amount of the internet traffic for much of the world. When an internet backbone type of system gets bogged down, it doesn’t matter if you are sending or receiving from the fastest fiber option connection, if you have 4g, 3g or 2g internet access, dial up or cable, everything is coming to a halt. Kind of like rush hour in a major city like New York, or the DC area – you might have a Lamborghini that zooms fast in most places, if you get stuck in that rush hour traffic, you are not going to be getting to the other side any faster than someone in an old pinto.

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Level 3 data dropped for hours. Image from Down Detector.com

This is not a huge problem for loading a lot of web sites, or even videos for that matter, as your web browser has no problem “buffering” some web assets and waiting for the others to arrive and them putting them all together to display a web page. Most video sites pre-load a couple of extra minutes worth of video before it starts playing, and they buffer a good extra amount in case the internet slows down your stream.

Have you ever been talking to someone on a cell phone and just lose connection?

The call gets dropped – doesn’t matter if it’s just 2 seconds or if they go into a tunnel for 10 minutes – when a live call is interrupted it gets dropped from the system and you have to call them back to start a new conversation. This is similar to how our chat system must work.

Rush hour cars and trucks in New York city don’t usually affect restaurants in the state of Delaware.

One of our chat servers is located in the state of Delaware – it’s a couple states away from the state of New York.

Normally the rush hour traffic in New York city does not affect people ordering pizza delivery in Delaware. It is possible I guess that if traffic got so backed up in New York that it would turn Interstate Highway 95 into a parking lot and if it lasted long enough it could backup traffic into neighboring New Jersey (I think that already happens) – and if it got really really bad for a really long time it could bring traffic on the interstate in Delaware to a halt as well. This of course would push a lot of cars and trucks onto the side roads and then travel time to and from the food places in your small town near the highway might go from a the normal few minutes to hours or longer.

From what I gather, since some ass hat released the Mirai Botnet code into the world wild web, a bunch of people have been copying and using it to infect devices connected to the net, thus many different people around the world are now using your family’s devices to attack in hordes, overloading various web sites, and entire sections of the internet’s highway system.

Certainly some of the internet attacks are being kept out of the news, but a couple have been reported – like the unprecedented attack against security guru brain krebs, the big attack that took down amazon, spotify and others in October was reported heavily – and a few places have been reporting that people are using s similar zombie bot net to take down the internet of an entire country the past few days – in what seems more of a test than an act of hate.

Rumors are swirling that many of these large attacks are just test runs for much larger and focused attacks in the near future. So things might get worse before they get better.

Read more about these attacks and how they have gotten so big, that the biggest internet players are failing to keep up in this article at tech crunch: https://techcrunch.com/2016/10/25/the-mirai-botnets-internet-takedown-opens-up-a-new-market-for-attackers-and-defenders/

I have no doubt that these bot nets are being used by different groups of people for different reasons at different times, and the massive amount of traffic congestion they are causing is affecting our chat systems. Even though it’s your neighbor’s internet devices being used to attack the computers a couple states away from our computers – the massive congestion is causing us (and many other people) connection problems.

Our chat servers are running fine. The problem is the size of the pipes to and from our servers, and the pipes around our visitors in some cases as well, that are getting clogged. There is not much we can do about that at the moment, as these attacks are affecting big chunks of the internet in general, not hitting our server data center.

What can we internet citizens do?

As a global internet community we need to share with our family and friends certain things about connected devices they need to know and fix.

If you (or people you know) have devices that connect through the internet, make sure the default admin password has been changed.

Think about your internet router – have you and your family logged into the admin account of your router and changed the factory set password? While you’re in there, turn off upnp discovery.

Check for firmware updates with any device that has internet connectivity.

If you are not using the smart features of your smart TV or other device, lock it out of your network. No need to have your TV spying on you if you are not using the embedded vudu TV or other smart apps. You are better off using a game console or raku stick kind of thing to make it smart when you need it.

If your device can not update it’s firmware and there is no way to change the default admin password, replace it. At least one company is issues a replacement recall on it’s security cameras for this reason.

Can you connect to your security cams or DVR or other device at home through the internet? Change the default admin password.

I also suggest changing your wi fi password, and powering off all of your electronics then restarting them.

Some are saying that the marai bot net infections are erased when your infected device powers off.
Of course it can be re-infected within minutes once it’s turned back on if you have not changed the default admin password.

Are the chat rooms doomed?

Our chat systems are pretty solid, and we have options for increasing our web servers in some ways. We can’t control the crazy internet attacks that are going around, and I suspect they will only get worse the next few days. It’s my guess that these attacks and the collateral damage they are causing will decrease dramatically after November 9th. I could be wrong, and there could be spikes here and there in the future, but I can think of many reasons that these attacks will become less and less damaging after the next week, and weeks to come.

Although my hope is that the powers that be will reign in these attacks and provide more bandwidth to absorb the congestion while also disconnecting those users who have infected machines, I like to have backups and get prepared for a future in which that does not happen.

We already have our peeps profiles and the profiles on sex chat space that allow people to connect and send private email like messages to one another as a backup. These messaging systems do not rely on a constant on back and back connection in order to function properly – so they should be fine. We are also working on a new type of system that works with mobile apps and other technologies that may route around this always on connection need. Another option we are playing with is giving users their own social systems, so that each person can run their own 3 social networks on their own web servers, and these servers can talk to each other. Will people be willing to spend $8 per month to have their own social network web server that runs without the other major portals running? More on that in another post.

So we are looking at options for things we can do. In the meantime I suggest friend-ing people through the profiles section so you message each other about what’s happening and hookup even if the chat room is dropping people.

A cool article explaining how the internet works, and how it’s been very reliable and why is posted via the Tennessean newspaper today. Glad to see other people explaining / breaking it down.

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