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 newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags twitter

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

Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?