As we noted early this morning, Twitter is still having some major issues getting its service stabilized following the DDoS attacks. Co-founder Biz Stone has posted a new update on the situation on Twitter’s blog today. Apparently, the attacks are still ongoing, and while Stone refuses to speculate on the motivation behind them, he does note that they appear to be “geopolitical” in their nature.
The ongoing, massively coordinated attacks on Twitter this week appear to have been geopolitical in motivation. However, we don’t feel it’s appropriate to engage in speculative discussion about these motivations. The open exchange of information can have a positive impact globally and our job is to keep Twitter services running reliably to the best of our ability.
This is in line with various reports around the web suggesting that a group of Russian hackers are targeting Georgian users, and possibly just one user. Similar attacks also targeted Facebook, LiveJournal, Blogger and YouTube. While certainly this would fall into the realm of cyber terrorism, what’s crazy is how this is echoing elements of actual terrorism as well. We’ve gotten multiple tips from parties either claiming or denying responsibility for the attacks, much like terrorist factions claim or deny responsibility when a bomb goes off somewhere.
Sadly, given the success the responsible parties have seen in taking down these sites, it seems likely that it will only embolden others to carry out more attacks of this nature in the future. Twitter notes that it is doing all it can to prevent that and to resolve this situation, but as Stone writes, “Denial of Service attacks are a known quantity on the web and they are not going away any time soon.”
Twitter has been posting updates on its status blog to let users and third party developers know what is going on. On top of taking out Twitter’s main service, these attacks forced it to shut down many of its API services, which obviously crippled many of the services built on top of Twitter’s platform. Twitter is still working on restoring those. The API team is encouraging developers to post questions on their mailing list found here.
One recent update in that list is pretty telling for how serious these attacks are:
As you know all too well Twitter, among other services, has been getting hit pretty hard with a DDoS attack over the past 24+ hours. Yesterday we saw the attack come in a number of waves and from a number of different vectors increasing in intensity along the way. We were able to stabilize our own service for a bit, hence Biz’s post saying all was well, but that didn’t mean the attacks had ceased. In fact, at around 3am PST today the attacks intensified to almost 10x of what it was yesterday. In order for us to defend from the attack we have had to put a number of services in place and we know that some of you have gotten caught in the crossfire. Please know we are as frustrated as you are and wish there was more we could have communicated along the way.
The key point there is obviously that the attacks intensified almost tenfold from what they were seeing yesterday. That’s not good.