Feeds

Hackers not responsible for New York Times website wipeout

Hours-long outage attributed to internal systems fault

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

The website of The New York Times was unavailable for at least an hour on Wednesday morning, but the newspaper says the outage wasn't due to malicious attacks, as some had feared.

The NYT website first went dark around 11:30am Eastern Time and continued to display nothing but a terse "Service Unavailable" error for several hours.

When the outage first struck, staffers used the paper's Twitter account to let readers know that the problem was being addressed, but said only that the site was "experiencing technical difficulties" and that it would be back up shortly. The NYT email server was reportedly also affected.

The paper's edit staff posted details of breaking stories to the official Times Facebook feed during the downtime, an unusual move that was criticized by the anti-Zuck set.

What's more, the timing of the outage led some to speculate that it may have been the result of a deliberate attack. It coincided with several important events, most notably Egypt's bloody crackdown of protests by supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.

The NYT has been the victim of hacking attacks in the past. In January it reported that its staffers' email accounts had been compromised by hackers linked to the Chinese military. On Wednesday, security research firm FireEye said the same group responsible for those attacks could be ready for more mischief.

Once the Times's website was restored late Wednesday afternoon, however, the paper's IT bods said that no outside forces were to blame for the morning's service interruption. In a message titled "To Our Customers," an anonymous staffer wrote:

As you may know, our Web site was unavailable for a period of time earlier today. The outage occurred within seconds of a scheduled maintenance update, which we believe was the cause. We are working on fully restoring service and apologize for any inconvenience.

Just which portions of the site's infrastructure still need repairs isn't clear. According to reports from around the web, the newspaper's full contents were available to readers in most regions by the time it posted the apology.

In all, it was a much shorter and less damaging outage than the Outlook and SkyDrive debacle that Microsoft suffered on Wednesday, which began in the early morning and which – as this Reg hack goes to press the big, red "Post" button – has yet to be resolved. ®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Israeli spies rebel over mass-snooping on innocent Palestinians
'Disciplinary treatment will be sharp and clear' vow spy-chiefs
Google recommends pronounceable passwords
Super Chrome goes into battle with Mr Mxyzptlk
Infosec geniuses hack a Canon PRINTER and install DOOM
Internet of Stuff securo-cockups strike yet again
THREE QUARTERS of Android mobes open to web page spy bug
Metasploit module gobbles KitKat SOP slop
'Speargun' program is fantasy, says cable operator
We just might notice if you cut our cables
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Snowden, Dotcom, throw bombs into NZ election campaign
Claim of tapped undersea cable refuted by Kiwi PM as Kim claims extradition plot
YouTube, Amazon and Yahoo! caught in malvertising mess
Cisco says 'Kyle and Stan' attack is spreading through compromised ad networks
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
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.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
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.