The Twitter service went down today for several hours due to a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack. What exactly is a DDOS attack, you ask? Let CNET’s Elinor Mills explain:
In the distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack on the sites, computers that have been compromised by viruses or other malware are instructed by the attacker’s computer to visit the specific Web sites all at the same time and repeatedly. The barrage of connection requests overwhelms the target sites, making it so that legitimate Web traffic can’t get through. Such coordinated attacks require the efforts of tens of thousands or more of hijacked computers, which together form a botnet. Spammers send e-mails with malicious attachments or URLs to millions of people to create botnets.
Basically, computer hackers are putting heavy pressure the servers that run websites and making them fall to their knees. The end result is users not being able to access the service’s main portal to log in. Why did this happen today to Twitter and other related social media sites, though? According to the latest reports, a Georgian blogger who goes by the name “Cyxymu” was targeted by a group of hackers. Cyxymu had accounts on the sites Twitter, Facebook, Live Journal, and Google’s Blogger and YouTube. These sites were affected by a DDOS attack because the group of hackers did not want Cyxymu to voice his opinions on these social websites. Immature, huh? Max Kelly, chief security officer at Facebook: “You have to ask who would benefit the most from doing this and think about what those people are doing and the disregard for the rest of the users and the Internet.”
Kelly had this to say about the culprit(s): “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.” A Google spokesman: “We are aware that a handful of non-Google sites were impacted by a DOS attack this morning, and are in contact with some affected companies to help investigate this attack. Google systems prevented substantive impact to our services.” Twitter and Live Journal have yet to comment on the matter.