Security experts fear copycat web attacks on a huge scale after malicious code was made public over the weekend.
The code, known as ‘Mirai’ source code, has been used to launch some of the largest ever cyber attacks to date and was shared on a hacker’s forum over the weekend.
Experts expressed fear that the availability of the code will see other sites being knocked offline in the coming weeks in an email sent to ArsTechnica.
The attack tool works by building a huge botnet network, enrolling over a million home smart devices, such as webcams and thermostats that are poorly protected.
These smart devices are generally guarded by weak passwords, and are vulnerable to attack by the hackers.
“This is all collateral damage caused by a failure of good judgement by using the same factory default passwords on IoT devices in the first place,” said Stephen Gates.
The network made up of all these devices is then used by hackers to swamp other websites with data, causing them to crash.
One example of the Mirai code being used to take down websites, is the recent attack on French web hosting company OVH.
The firm’s founder claimed that at the peak of the attack the datastream hitting their servers reached 1.5 Tbps, putting it ahead of a similar attack on security blogger Brian Kreb’s website in September.