Richi Jennings

NY Times website down for HOURS. Hacked by China again?

August 15, 2013 6:16 AM EDT

Rent-a-quotes yell "Cyber Attack!"

NY Times cyber attack

The New York Times website went down for more than two hours yesterday. It limped along for a few hours after it came back. Naturally, this led some to speculate that China has been up to it's old tricks again.

In IT Blogwatch, bloggers blog the meta-news.

Your humble blogwatcher curated these bloggy bits for your entertainment.

 
Sharon Gaudin outlines the outage:

The Times website and its mobile app both crashed...shortly before noon [EDT]. ... The site was back online around 1:30 p.m., though it still suffered slow load times.
...
The Times blamed a server issue. ... Speculation online had raised the possibility of a cyberattack.  MORE


 
WaPo's Hayley Tsukayama tries not to gloat:

The Web site...was inaccessible for about two hours Wednesday as the company struggled with a technical glitch. [It] lasted from about 11:10 a.m. to 1 p.m...the site continued to struggle with some technical problems into the afternoon.
...
Last year, the Times was one of several media outlets targeted by hackers thought to be based in China...on the day that [it] published an exposé of then-Prime Minister Wen Jiabao.  MORE


 
The Grey Lady's own Noam Cohen adds:

company officials say [there] was a failure during regular maintenance of NYTimes.com and not...a cyberattack.
...
The site...returned around 1:15 p.m., but service was sporadic. New articles were being published again by about 3 p.m.  MORE


 
Lest we forget, FireEye's Ned Moran and Nart Villeneuve issued this warning on Monday:

The attackers behind the breach of the New York Times...last year appear to be mounting fresh assaults. ... The new campaigns mark...a retooling of what [we] believe is a massive spying operation based in China.

...the most successful threat actors evolve slowly and deliberately. So when they do change, pay close attention.  MORE


 
A "fair and balanced" Matt Egan and Jennifer Booton yell, "Cyber Attack" and dig up some usual suspects:

...a source close to the matter said appeared to be caused by a cyber attack. ... The source, who asked not to be named...said the newspaper had been huddling with outside security professionals to assess the threat.
...
Cedric Leighton, a former National Security Agency official, said: "[I] believe that this is not really an internal issue. This is something that goes way beyond that." ...he noted it is possible that someone who has internal access "could have planted malicious code."
...
“Sometimes cyber attacks look like normal server problems,”...said Carl Herberger.
...
“It doesn’t take much to rent a botnet and do an attack that just consumes the bandwidth and resources,” said Ron Gula.  MORE


 
So Graham Cluley muses:

It’s almost inevitable...that an unexpected downtime of the New York Times website would lead some to suspect sinister forces. ... It’s not a completely outlandish notion. ... [But] I haven’t seen anything yet to dispute the New York Times’s claim that the outage was the result of an internal issue. ... I’m inclined to believe them...unless something more concrete emerges.
...
Maybe Fox Business should go back to its unnamed source, and ask them where they got their facts from [and] shouldn't be so quick to assume malicious hackers are at work.  MORE


 
Meanwhile, Matt Yglesias quips:

And now we know how Bezos is going to use his tech savvy to save the Washington Post.  MORE


 

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