Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Twitter totters after DoS attack

An attack on Twitter which prevented users from “tweeting” yesterday could have been the work of a teenager in a bedroom, an expert said.

The micro-blogging site went down for several hours yesterday afternoon after falling victim to a “denial of service” attack.

Colin Sweetman, who provides internet technology and digital media advice through his company E-Volutionary.net, said such attacks were very common.

He said: “It's probably the most common form of attack on a website because you don't need to be particularly bright to have a go at it, it's relatively unsophisticated.

“Quite often it's a 14 or 15-year-old or a university kid, not a skilled programmer, just someone with a bit of computer knowledge and nothing better to do with their time. Normally systems are pretty well protected to handle that kind of thing but it does happen.”

Such attacks could be perpetrated from a single location, such as a teenager's bedroom, he said.

Facebook also said it was “looking into” possible problems with the site, which was down temporarily yesterday too.

A message posted on the Twitter blog said: “Attacks such as this are malicious efforts orchestrated to disrupt and make unavailable services such as online banks, credit card payment gateways and, in this case, Twitter for intended customers or users.”

He said the attacker would have crashed the site by running a programme simulating thousands of users trying to access the site at once and flooding it with more traffic than it was designed for.

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