DoS Attacks vs. Social Media

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Maybe you heard the sound of the world crashing down and people actually being productive at work yesterday while Twitter was unreachable. It wasn’t long before the full explanation came out—the popular microblogging site was the victim of a DoS attack.

But Twitter wasn’t the only site targeted. As CNET reports, Facebook, LiveJournal and Blogger were all subject to a distributed denial-of-service attack yesterday, apparently to silence “Cyxymu,” one blogger from Georgia (the country not the state). Twitter was the most noticeably affected, though Cyxymu’s LiveJournal page was unaccessible.

The Chief Security Officer at Facebook, Chris Kelly, confirmed the attack to CNET:

It was a simultaneous attack across a number of properties targeting him to keep his voice from being heard. We’re actively investigating the source of the attacks, and we hope to be able to find out the individuals involved in the back end and to take action against them, if we can.

You have to ask who would benefit the most from doing this and think about what those people are doing and the disregard for the rest of the users and the Internet.

Google managed to keep its sites working just fine, and Facebook suffered from some periodic slowness, but was able to keep Cyxymu’s profile visible to other users in his area.

The attack was coordinated through spy- or malware. Infected computers were instructed to request hundreds of pages per second from the targeted sites. The attack is designed to overload the sites’ servers and/or make it impossible for real users to access the sites.

Read Write Web reports that all the other affected sites have recovered, but Twitter is still suffering. Twitter went down again this morning and continues to operate with intermittent slowdowns. Worse, third party Twitter apps are suffering even more because of mixed downtime messages.

Perhaps unrelated, Cyxymu was also the victim of a spam spoof this week, where spam emails were mocked up to look as though he’d sent them.

I think this shows surprising strength from several social websites. I’m not terribly surprised that Twitter proved to be the weakest—they were once notorious for downtime problems even without malicious attacks.

On the other hand, targeting one user across multiple sites with a complete DDoS attack seems 1.) overkill and 2.) sure to backfire. How much more publicity will Cyxymu get now? Aren’t you wondering what it is that he has to say that incited this attack? (And of course there’s also the insidious possibility that Cyxymu is behind the attack in a play for publicity.)

What do you think? Are you surprised Twitter has suffered the most? Do you want to know more about this Cyxymu person?


DoS Attacks vs. Social Media
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About Jordan McCollum
Jordan McCollum is a staff writer for the popular marketing blog Marketing Pilgrim. She has worked in search engine optimization with clients including 3M, Little Giant Ladders and ADP. After graduating from Brigham Young University, Jordan joined the SEO copywriting team at the Internet marketing firm 10x Marketing. After 10x closed its doors in December 2006, Jordan became a freelance writer and Internet marketing consultant specializing in SEO. She also has extensive experience with web analytics, conversion rate enhancement and e-mail marketing. WebProNews Writer
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