Twitter still feeling after effects of DoS attack as URL-shortening site blames it for closure

News by Dan Raywood

Twitter is still continuing to recover after suffering from the denial-of-service (DoS) attacks last Thursday.

Twitter is still continuing to recover after suffering from the denial-of-service (DoS) attacks last Thursday.

Writing on the Twitter blog, co-founder Biz Stone claimed that the site had been ‘contending with a variety of attacks that continue to change in nature and intensity' since the attack took place on Thursday afternoon.

He also claimed that the team had been working to restore access to applications built on the Twitter platform that were affected by defensive measures as ‘there was some overcompensation on our part as we tune our system to deal with this scale of attack'.

Stone refused to comment about the motivations for the attack and was quick to point out that no data or personal information of any kind was compromised.

Stone said: “DoS attacks are a known quantity on the web and they are not going away any time soon. Nevertheless, we can and will improve system response to these assaults such that they don't interfere with our normal, everyday Twittering.”

However it does seem that DoS attacks may have caused the downfall of a URL-shortening website, with tr.im announcing that it is to close. Nambu, the company behind tr.im, claimed that it could not find a way of making money to continue its development and support.

A blog post said: “tr.im did well for what it was, but, alas, it was not enough. We simply cannot find a way to justify continuing to work on it, or pay its network costs, which are not inconsequential. Tr.im pushes (as I write this) a lot of redirects and URL creations per day, and this required significant development investment and server expansion to accommodate.”

The blog said that the team were surprised to learn that no one wanted to take the site over and after quietly contacting a number of people within the Twitter development world, nobody wanted it in exchange a token amount of money.

“No one perceived any value in it, or they wanted to operate a shortener under a differently branded domain name. And, users will not pay for URL shortening, and why should they?”

The team also hit out at Twitter, claiming that it had ‘all but sapped us of any last energy to double-down and develop tr.im further. What is the point? With bit.ly the Twitter default, and with us having no inside connection to Twitter, tr.im will lose over the long-run no matter how good it may or may not be at this moment, or in the future'.

However CNET reported that tr.im suffered from what it claimed to be a DoS attack last Wednesday, which blew the site offline for some hours.

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, pointed at suggestions that hackers may not have been to blame for the tr.im outage, but instead that budget airline JetBlue may have overwhelmed the service.

Last Wednesday, JetBlue attained over a million followers on Twitter, and announced a one-day only deal cutting flights by 20 per cent, with tr.im used to shorten the link to the deal.

Cluley said: “Whether JetBlue was responsible for tr.im's downtime is probably something that's only really known to the folks at Nambu, but it may have been the final straw which broke the camel's back for a service that was investing time and effort into a system that was finding little in the way of financial reward.

“I'm sorry to see tr.im go. I used it for a while for many of my own posts on Twitter (I now most often use bit.ly) and thought it presented its service attractively. Apparently the company says that tr.im links will continue to redirect, and will do so until at least 31st December, 2009.”

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