Feeds

Amazon blames hardware – not hackers – for European outage

Anonymous denies Grinch-style attack on Xmas shoppers

Using blade systems to cut costs and sharpen efficiencies

Problems with Amazon's systems in Europe over the weekend were down to hardware failure rather than hackers, the e-commerce giant said on Sunday.

Christmas shoppers trying to complete purchases from Amazon's online stores in the UK, France, Germany, Austria and Italy were locked out for around half an hour on Sunday. Amazon famously withdrew services from whistle-blower website Wikileaks at the start of the month, a move that potentially made it a target for attacks from Anonymous.

However, Amazon said the temporary outage was caused by "hardware failure" at a Dublin-based hosting facility that serves the sites. Web services monitoring firm Netcraft confirmed this diagnosis, adding that the affected sites were affected by around half an hour of downtime at around 21.15 GMT on Sunday.

A statement from Anonymous denied launching an attack against Amazon, arguing that such a move would be counterproductive, in PR terms, as well as difficult in practice. Amazon's distributed system makes it more resilient against distributed denial of service attacks, if not hardware failure.

"While it is indeed possible that Anonymous may not have been able to take Amazon.com down in a DDoS attack, this is not the only reason the attack never occurred," the group said, the BBC reports.

"After the attack was so advertised in the media, we felt that it would affect people such as consumers in a negative way and make them feel threatened by Anonymous.

"Simply put, attacking a major online retailer when people are buying presents for their loved ones would be in bad taste," it added.

Anonymous launched a denial of service attack against Amazon last week in retaliation for terminating WikiLeaks' web-hosting services, but the assault failed. Instead of launching a follow-up attack on Amazon over the weekend, activists from the Anonymous collective were concentrating on a second wave of attacks against Mastercard.

In a statement on its Mastercard.com website, the credit card giant acknowledged the attack on its website, but denied any suggestion that this would have an impact on credit card transaction processing. "MasterCard has made significant progress in restoring full-service to its corporate website," said the multinational. "Our core processing capabilities have not been compromised and cardholder account data has not been placed at risk. While we have seen limited interruption in some web-based services, cardholders can continue to use their cards for secure transactions globally."

Anonymous' Operation:Payback Campaign has targeted the websites of firms which severed commercial ties with Wikileaks over the last week. The withdrawal of payment services to the whistle-blower website spawned attacks against Paypal and Visa as well as Mastercard. The Swedish Prosecutor's website was also hit by Anonymous over its decision to issue a European arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in relation to sexual assault allegations. Assange denies the charges. ®

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Secure microkernel that uses maths to be 'bug free' goes open source
Hacker-repelling, drone-protecting code will soon be yours to tweak as you see fit
14 antivirus apps found to have security problems
Vendors just don't care, says researcher, after finding basic boo-boos in security software
Only '3% of web servers in top corps' fully fixed after Heartbleed snafu
Just slapping a patched OpenSSL on a machine ain't going to cut it, we're told
How long is too long to wait for a security fix?
Synology finally patches OpenSSL bugs in Trevor's NAS
Israel's Iron Dome missile tech stolen by Chinese hackers
Corporate raiders Comment Crew fingered for attacks
Roll out the welcome mat to hackers and crackers
Security chap pens guide to bug bounty programs that won't fail like Yahoo!'s
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Researcher sat on critical IE bugs for THREE YEARS
VUPEN waited for Pwn2Own cash while IE's sandbox leaked
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.