Twitter hit by second denial-of-service attack but downtime kept to a minimum

News by Dan Raywood

Twitter was hit by a second denial-of-service (DoS) attack yesterday.

Twitter was hit by a second denial-of-service (DoS) attack yesterday.

The site acknowledged that it was ‘working to recover from a site outage and will update as we learn more'; later claiming that it was ‘back up and analysing the traffic data to determine the nature of this attack'.

The site late claimed to have experienced some errors during maintenance, and said: “We're performing some system maintenance and have chosen not to go offline as we make these changes. As a result, you may see increased errors or slowness while the changes are made. This condition should resolve quickly.”

Twitter's platform lead Alex Payne told developers of third-party Twitter applications about the outage at 8:23pm UK time. He said: “We're currently experiencing another wave of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against our system. Expect periodic slowness and errors until the attack passes or is countered by our operations team and hosting provider. Updates will be provided as we get them. Thanks for your patience."

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, claimed that he could not help but feel sorry for Twitter as it tripped up yesterday, after apparently becoming the unwitting victim of a DDoS attack for the second time in less than a week.

Cluley said: “The good news is that, unlike last week's attack, Twitter was back up-and-running in about half-an-hour. So kudos to them for managing to avoid too much disruption for millions of their users.

“However, commentators will be wondering if this is a similar attack to the one conducted last week (in other words, a return to political hackers taking their revenge on a Georgian blogger with views they don't like) or a copycat who heard how easy it was to bring down Twitter, and thought it might be ‘cool' to try it for themselves.”

Roel Schouwenberg, senior anti-virus researcher at Kaspersky Lab, said: “Twitter's security doesn't seem to be significantly better than at the beginning of the year. That's a personal opinion, for sure, but that's the way I see it. Secondly, the service is continually increasing in popularity. Twitter is everywhere, and I mean everywhere – check the mainstream media and you'll see dozens of references to Twitter every day.

“The attacks on Twitter haven't had any real impact on its popularity. Given the service's current business model (whatever that may be), only the DDoS attacks seem to be causing Twitter any real pain. And that same business model might be the reason why Twitter doesn't seem to be investing heavily in security.”

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