Twitter withstands second DDoS attack in a week

Unclear if latest attack is related to last week's assault that knocked Twitter offline for 2 hours

Less than a week after Twitter was shuttered by a highly publicized distributed denial-of-service attack, the microblogging site was hit by hackers again late yesterday.

This time, however, the Twitter stood up much better to the attack, only going down for about 30 minutes, about 90 minutes less than last week, the company said in a blog post. It added that Twitter personnel are analyzing traffic data to determine the specific nature of the latest attack.

It's so far unclear whether Tuesday's attack is related to last week's hack of the Twitter and Facebook social networks along with other sites. Security experts have said that the earlier trouble was likely politically motivated and targeted a single person, a pro-Georgian blogger identified only as "Cyxymu."

Today, security analysts said they don't yet have enough information to determine whether the two attacks are related.

"We don't know enough about the latest attack to know if it was still targeting the single pro-Georgian blogger, or whether it was another group proving its abilities against Twitter," said Graham Cluley, a senior technology consultant for Sophos. "It wouldn't be eyebrow-raising normally to see a Web site suffer a series of denial-of-service attacks, as quite often they are initiated by cybercriminals in an attempt to procure money out of the victim via blackmail. In other words, they might prove their ability to knock out the site on a number of occasions."

But two take-downs - even if this last one was less dramatic - in one week is not good publicity for Twitter, which has grown rapidly in popularity and has gained a strong foothold among mainstream users along with celebrities like Oprah Winfrey, Lance Armstrong and even two NASA astronauts. And given that companies like Zappos.com and JetBlue have taken to Twittering to boost their business, evidence that the site can't handle such attacks could blunt the interest of other potential corporate users.

Ken van Wyk, principal consultant at KRvW Associates LLC. and a columnist for Computerworld says beefing up Twitter's defenses isn't a job done quickly or easily.

"Is it worrisome? No, it's frustrating and unsurprising, but not really worrisome," he added. "Understand [that the work needed to be done] are infrastructure things that would take a long time to implement. We're talking bigger and faster network pipes, redundant geographic data centers, load balancing, and other massive undertakings. That's not going to happen in a week."

Van Wyk said start-ups too often save time and money by opting not to build their infrastructures to withstand foreseeable problems, including security threats.

"Somewhere along the way, it's likely they decided this type of DDoS attack wasn't a credible threat, or it was not high enough on their priority list to warrant the type of infrastructure investment I'm referring to," he added. "Not many companies need that kind of DDoS protection. It could have been a perfectly reasonable business decision at the time, but has now turned out to be regrettable."

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags twitter

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?