Thursday, August 6, 2009

Twitter Hacked by Denial of Service Attack

According to the Associated Press, Twitter reported in its blog that the company is currently busy staving off a denial-of-service attack that was launched Thursday by an unknown group of hackers.

A denial-of-service (DoS) attack is a method where hackers commandeer computers and flood the targeted Web site with communication requests, forcing it shut down and reset. While a DoS attack is underway, the Web site either becomes unavailable to legitimate users or responds so slowly that the Web site times out and becomes unusable.

CNet reports that Twitter began suffering problems around 6 A.M PDT.

“We are determining the cause and will provide an update shortly,” the company posted at 6:43 A.M PDT on their blog.

Around 7:49 A.M, Twitter updated users on the microblog’s status, saying that they were “defending against a denial-of-service attack and will update status again shortly.”

AlertSite, a firm that monitors Web site performance, had only 40 percent availability at 8:00 A.M, but was still widely inaccessible to most users.

According to the Los Angeles Times, at 9:47 A.M PDT, Twitters updated their status with a notice that read, “As we recover, users will experience some longer load times and slowness. This includes timeouts to API clients. We’re working to get back to 100% as quickly as we can.”

Currently, the top trending topics on Twitter include “DoS” and “Denial-of-Service”.

Twitter is a famous social networking services available on the Internet and have millions of registered users, including Hollywood celebrities, famous business mans, politicians etc.

Another popular social networking site, Facebook, was also the victim of a similar attack this morning.

Earlier this week, the popular blog network Gawker Media was targeted by a DoS attack that was able to knock it off the Internet for a brief period of time..

According to PC Pro, the motive behind the attacks on Twitter, Facebook and Gawker are unknown.

“The question on my mind is - why would someone want to attack Twitter?” asks Graham Cluley, the senior technology consultant at Sophos, a company that specializes in network security, to PC Pro.

“I can’t imagine it’s a commercial competitor of theirs, but it could be someone with a financial motivation (blackmail?) or a teenager in a back bedroom with access to an awfully large botnet.”

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