A distributed denial-of-service attack on one (yes, one) person yesterday left news media in a quandary. With no Twitter, and no Facebook either, how was the news to be obtained?
Seriously, however, the outage was the result of attacks across several services aimed directly at a blogger named Cyxymu from the Eastern European country of Georgia. Max Kelly, chief security officer at Facebook, told C|Net:
"It was a simultaneous attack across a number of properties targeting him to keep his (Cyxymu) voice from being heard. We're actively investigating the source of the attacks, and we hope to be able to find out the individuals involved in the back end and to take action against them, if we can."
Twitter was down for several hours starting early Thursday morning. It also suffered periodic slowness and time-outs throughout much of the day.
Other services that faced the same DDoS attack were Facebook, LiveJournal, Google Sites, and YouTube.
Of course, the obvious theory is that the attack is due to the still-existent Russia - Georgia enmity. That was posited
by Bill Woodcock, research director of the Packet Clearing House, a nonprofit technical organization that tracks Internet traffic:
He said he found evidence that the attacks had originated from the Abkhazia region, a territory on the Black Sea disputed between Russia and Georgia.
Interestingly, he indicated that he found no evidence a botnet, which is frequently used in this sort of attack, was exploited in this case. He noted, instead, that at about 10:30 AM EDT, millions of people worldwide received spam e-mail messages containing links to Twitter and other sites, and that's what caused the outage.
Humorously, as indicated above, there was no way for people to Tweet about the Twitter outage, and that, as satirist Bad Reporter
notes, has prompted Twitter to consider a backup system so people can Tweet about not being able to Tweet.
How many of you readers were traumatized
by the Twitter outage?