Saturday, August 8, 2009

Twitter crashed because of a denial-of-service attack

Twitter crashed because of a denial-of-service attack, in which hackers command scores of computers toward a single site at the same time to prevent legitimate traffic from getting through. The attack was targeted at a blogger who goes by "Cyxymu" -- the name of a town in Georgia -- on several Web sites, including Twitter, Facebook and LiveJournal.

But they could have just as well targeted Twitter itself. That's because the effects were the same whether the excess traffic went to the "" home page or to the page for Cyxymu at "" Same with Facebook and LiveJournal.

As annoying as the Twitter outage may have been for some, it was nothing compared with the havoc that would have resulted from a cell phone service outage.

SHOOT: It was frustrating not being able to use it. The amount of that frustration is a possible argument for paying a yearly subscription fee for the service. Of course, that also pavesthe way for an imitation twitter that's free, or just using Facebook's status updates.
clipped from

NEW YORK (AP) -- The outage that knocked Twitter offline for hours was traced to an attack on a lone blogger in the former Soviet republic of Georgia -- but the collateral damage that left millions around the world tweetless showed just how much havoc an isolated cyberdispute can cause.

"It told us how quickly many people really took Twitter into their hearts," Robert Thompson, director of the Center for the Study of Popular Television at Syracuse University, said Friday.

Tens of millions of people have come to rely on social media to express their innermost thoughts and to keep up with world news and celebrity gossip.

Twitter "is one of those little amusements that infiltrated the mass behavior in some significant ways, so that when it went away, a lot of people really noticed it and missed it."

"A denial of service attack like this one is a very blunt instrument," said Ray Dickenson, chief technology officer at Authentium, a computer security firm
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