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Google Went Down … Were They Hacked?

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Google went offline for a while tonight. Google Blogoscoped was the first to report it, noticing that Google.com, Google News, and Froogle were down.

Link: Google Down?

Gmail still worked, though. A little later, Google.com was back, but News and Froogle were still down. As of now, all Google services are operating normally.

Search Engine Watch posted time-stamped updates. At 7:35 pm (Eastern) they had Google.com, Froogle and Gmail, but not News or Froogle.com. At 8:00 pm everything was working.

At 8:30, Google’s David Krane sent out an official statement, which read:

Google’s global properties were unavailable for a short period of time earlier today. We’ve remedied the problem and access to Google has been restored worldwide.

Om Malik had this from David Krane:

Yes, it was a DNS issue. We’re seeing things as fully restored as of more than 30 min. ago. You’re the first to send such a screen shot and report this kind of issue. I’ll bounce it to the tech staff and will keep you posted.

This refuting reports that Google was not just down, but hacked. Screenshots have been popping up of Google redirecting to a search engine called Sogo or MSN Search. Also, a Whois page reported the Google domain as being stolen. However, the only widespread report with any credence seems to be the Sogo one.

Even KCBS, a San Francisco area news radio station, got in on it, with a radio update on the situation. The audio is here, and here are some quotes I hopefully transcribed correctly:

[female anchor] Speculation is swirling over the cause of a reported Google breakdown this afternoon…

[technology reporter Larry Magid] I got through to their chief spokesperson who says the the service was down globally, he says for about fifteen minutes today, and he says it was not an outside attack, it was not a hack, that it was an internal problem, and based on some skulking around on the web, it appears as if it may have been a DNS server…

… and apparently, that was the culprit, that that name server wasn’t giving out the address or getting people to Google. So, it wasn’t that the service was down, it just was inaccessible…

[female anchor] How did that breakdown affect people?

[Larry Magid] Well, that’s I think the most interesting aspect of this story is not so much that it was down, but the fact that people were concerned. I mean, there was swirling speculation, as you say, all over the web, the blogs. People all over the place were affected. I was on the phone with a colleague at CBS News in New York and they were, frankly, I think the word she used was “bummed out” because she couldn’t get her Google. You know, we’ve coem to depend on Google. Its really the service that people rely on for their mail, their news, their web surfing, for their information, and when it goes down, I have to say, its a big deal. It would be the equivalent of a major television or radio network going down or the phone service going down. Maybe not that quite big a deal, but it does affect millions of people around the world.

[female anchor] Absolutely. Did Google say anything as to how they would insure this thing wouldn’t happen again?

[Larry Magid] Ah, well, no. He simply said that it happened, and I thing that’s something that obviously their technicians would deal with. And it also shows that if it could happen to Google, and I think Google has good security in place, and some of the brightest technicians around, if it could happen to them it could happen to anyone, and indeed it has happened to just about every major web server that I can think of… Its just one of the realities of the world we’re in right now that this stuff is good but its far from perfect.

I tried to figure out who the female anchor was, with no luck (help me out if you know).

As Gary Price notes, Google is lucky this happened on a weekend. He also has a list of other prominent outages. I wonder if this affected Accelerator users.

Nathan Weinberg writes the popular InsideGoogle blog, offering the latest news and insights about Google and search engines.

Visit the InsideGoogle blog.

Google Went Down … Were They Hacked?
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  • http://www.seethrureviews.com/Fat-Loss-For-Idiots-Reviews.html Fat Loss For Idiots Review

    I don’t think it was a hack or else Google would of went down a lot more. I’ve been using Google for over 7 years and never seen it go down. I might of panicked if I did!

  • Guest

    where I am it’s 5:16 EST and google is down

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