Holiday shopping at one of the web's popular retailers was impossible for some European users over the weekend. Amazon's websites in Europe were down for more than half an hour on Sunday night.
Although a group of activists by the name "Anonymous" had encouraged an online attack in an attempt to crash Amazon.com by overwhelming it with requests, the outage experienced by Amazon's European websites over the weekend was unrelated to any such attack. It appears the outage was caused by a hardware failure in the company's European data center network.
According to a spokeswoman for Amazon, "The brief interruption to our European retail sites earlier today was due to hardware failure in our European datacenter network and not the result of a DDOS attempt."
Amazon's websites in Europe were down for more than 30 minutes over the weekend. Amazon.co.uk, amazon.de, amazon.fr and amazon.es were all affected. Amazon's US website was unaffected by the failure.
The activists were successful in bringing down the sites of MasterCard and Visa, which had stopped processing donations to WikiLeaks. Amazon was among one of the first U.S. firms to pull the plug on WikiLeaks.
Over the weekend, Anonymous said it had changed its strategy. The group now intends to focus on spreading snippets of the leaked cables rather than on cyber attacks.