Feeds

Twitter goes titsup

Mystery hackers knock-over micro-blogging service

Beginner's guide to SSL certificates

Updated Twitter was knocked offline on Thursday after the site became the victim of a distributed denial of service attack.

Users of the micro-blogging service are used to seeing the fail whale, a graphic that appears when service is over capacity, but this time around the site was left completely unreachable from around 1500 on Thursday (UK time) for around 90 minutes.

A terse messages on Twitter's status blog initially said the site was down before adding "We are defending against a denial-of-service attack, and will update status again shortly".

Unknown hackers take out Twitter

While there's no indication who might be behind the attack, Twitter has a few declared enemies. It has earned the ire of malware makers after turning on filtering technology to stop them exploiting its users.

More ominously it was cited as a key element in recent anti-government unrest in both Iran and China.

Graham Cluley, a security consultant at Sophos, initially said the hallmarks of the outage were not those of a planned downtime.

"Something has clearly gone wrong," he said. "It could be human error or some other cause. We have nothing to indicate that the outage is caused by a security problem at this point."

The outage has at least one positive effect. "All those Twitter addicts will be doing something more useful instead," Cluley quipped. ®

Update

Twitter returned towards the land of the living at around 1645 (UK time). The website remains difficult to reach while the attack is continuing, however some messages are getting through. The motives (much less the perpetrators) behind the assault remain unclear.

Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL

More from The Register

next story
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
China hacked US Army transport orgs TWENTY TIMES in ONE YEAR
FBI et al knew of nine hacks - but didn't tell TRANSCOM
Microsoft to patch ASP.NET mess even if you don't
We know what's good for you, because we made the mess says Redmond
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
Protecting users from Firesheep and other Sidejacking attacks with SSL
Discussing the vulnerabilities inherent in Wi-Fi networks, and how using TLS/SSL for your entire site will assure security.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.