Hackers have taken aim at the NRA. According to a new cyber security report released this week by the security research firm Netlab, three different National Rifle Association (NRA) websites experienced Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks in the past week.
The report includes a list of the most targeted websites in the past seven days. Nra.org, nracarryguard.com, nrafoundation.org join the usual targets: Amazon, Google, Pornhub, and other big platforms. The DDoS attacks on NRA websites appear to have started as early as February 25, according to people on Twitter.
Given the timing, it’s likely that NRA-directed attacks are politically motivated. The pro-gun organization has been under heavy fire in recent weeks following the Parkland school shooting on February 14 when a gunman shot and killed 17 people with a legally purchased AR-15. Over the past month, brands have dropped discount deals with the NRA, teenagers have lambasted the organization on television, and celebrities have heavily criticized the NRA on social media.
A DDoS attack is a pretty standard form of cyberwarfare — all you need is basic hacking acumen and a massive network of internet-connected devices at your disposal. By directing your network to request information from a single source at the same time, you can crash a website. This happens because web servers only have a certain amount of processing power to handle site visits and requests; when that ceiling is exceeded, the targeted website goes offline.
DDoS attacks have been around for a while. In June 2017, for example, the New York Times, Reddit, and Github all went down because of a DDoS attack. And in 2016, hackers started hacking and enlisting poorly secured IoT devices, including personal assistants, internet-enable video cameras, and DVRs as soldiers in DDoS attacks.
As the barriers to cybercrime decrease, expect to see DDoS attacks with increased frequency — let’s hope the hackers have good political views.