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What's Behind The Twitter Outage?

Millions of twitter users were left frustrated by one of the oldest tools in the Internet hacker handbook: the Distributed Denial-of-Service attack (commonly shortened to DDoS). As Time reports:

DDoS attacks are surprisingly low tech. Using a network of computers (dubbed zombies) controlled by a single master machine, the hacker tries to overwhelm the a website's servers. It's a brute force approach — the network of hacker-controlled computers flood the server with requests for data until the server overloads and comes crashing down. Graham Cluley, a computer security expert, likened the attack to "15 fat men trying to get through a revolving door at the same time." The attacks do no lasting damage — user data isn't compromised and the site isn't down for long. Once the fat men stop rushing the doors, everything returns to normal.

So is this the worst DDoS attack ever, as some Twitter fans are claiming? No, the DDoS attack on Google earlier this year was probably still the worst attack on record, says Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols in the Computer World. He of course also has a theory as to who may be behind it:

Twitter has become the way for Iranian protesters to keep in touch with each other and let the rest of the world know about how their election was stolen from them. The Iranian opposition had been planning protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's inauguration ceremony. A great deal of this planning has been over the Internet on blogs, and, of course, Twitter.

Millions of twitter users were left frustrated by one of the oldest tools in the Internet hacker handbook: the Distributed Denial-of-Service attack (commonly shortened to DDoS). As Time reports:

DDoS attacks are surprisingly low tech. Using a network of computers (dubbed zombies) controlled by a single master machine, the hacker tries to overwhelm the a website's servers. It's a brute force approach — the network of hacker-controlled computers flood the server with requests for data until the server overloads and comes crashing down. Graham Cluley, a computer security expert, likened the attack to "15 fat men trying to get through a revolving door at the same time." The attacks do no lasting damage — user data isn't compromised and the site isn't down for long. Once the fat men stop rushing the doors, everything returns to normal.

So is this the worst DDoS attack ever, as some Twitter fans are claiming? No, the DDoS attack on Google earlier this year was probably still the worst attack on record, says Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols in the Computer World. He of course also has a theory as to who may be behind it:

Twitter has become the way for Iranian protesters to keep in touch with each other and let the rest of the world know about how their election was stolen from them. The Iranian opposition had been planning protests against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's inauguration ceremony. A great deal of this planning has been over the Internet on blogs, and, of course, Twitter.

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