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AutoTrader crashes off the road in DDoS congestion

Sheer volume of traffic, innit

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AutoTrader has apologised for a hacking attack that saw its website slow to a crawl on Monday.

The UK-based car sales portal blamed a "malicious third-party attack" for problems that left its site either "intermittently unavailable or extremely slow" from around mid-day on Monday until early around 2pm on Tuesday.

AutoTrader managed to get things up and running by Tuesday afternoon, promising that visitors attempting to visit the site were not themselves exposed to malware as a result of the attack. In a blog update (extract below), AutoTrader assured customers that there was no reason to think any customers' data had been lifted via the attack either.

The technical support team is working around the clock to restore services and minimise the impact of similar attacks in the future. Some visitors may still experience difficulty accessing the site today while we resolve the remaining problems.

AutoTrader apologised for the incident, which (going by updates to the firm's official Twitter account) continued to cause problem for much of Tuesday. The motives – much less the identity of the perpetrators behind the attack – remain unclear.

Marketing activities on behalf of AutoTrader, at least, went on as normal during the outage, with El Reg, among others, receiving news that the site was about to hit 1 billion page views a month.

AutoTrader is no stranger to information security incidents. As recently as February, AutoTrader along with MyVue cinemas and the London Stock Exchange served malware-tainted ads as the result of a security breach at an ad network they all used. ®

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