Recently, DDoS attacks have been used to censor journalists' websites, and even temporarily make high profile sites such as Twitter as Spotify partly inaccessible. But in Finland, a DDoS led to something else entirely: a disruption last week of the heating system for a couple of residential buildings, Metropolitan.fi reported.The episode highlights the knock-on effects that DDoS attacks can sometimes have. Just as the Twitter outage was because of a DDoS against DNS servers, this Finnish outage was due to an attack against another target, according to the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority.
Simo Rounela, CEO of Valtia, a Finnish company that manages the buildings, told Motherboard that the attack hit a DNS service; that is, servers that translate human-readable internet domain names into computer IP addresses.Shortly after, Valtia received a number of alerts from one of their building's automation systems, made by a company called Fidelix."Remote connection was not working, so went on-site for more inspections," Rounela explained. The automated system controlling the heating, ventilation and hot water for the homes kept rebooting every 5 minutes. Eventually, it just didn't boot-up anymore, he said.Disconnecting the system from the internet fixed the problem, Rounela said, and they managed to get it up and running again about an hour after the original alarm.Clearly, this wasn't a catastrophic interruption, but it still shows how the interconnected nature of the internet can have consequences for our physical world too.