Wikipedia Website Knocked Offline By DDoS Attack

Community-written encyclopaedia Wikipedia has admitted its website was knocked offline at 7pm BST on Friday.

The outage affected millions of Internet users across Europe and the Middle East, but normal service was restored on Saturday morning, Downdetector.com data shows.

And it has been confirmed that the outage was down to a “malicious attack”, which it seems to be a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on the encyclopaedia.

Wikipedia outage

“Today, Wikipedia was hit with a malicious attack that has taken it offline in several countries for intermittent periods,” it blogged on Saturday. “The attack is ongoing and our Site Reliability Engineering team is working hard to stop it and restore access to the site.”

“As one of the world’s most popular sites, Wikipedia sometimes attracts ‘bad faith’ actors,” it noted. “We condemn these sorts of attacks. They’re not just about taking Wikipedia offline. Takedown attacks threaten everyone’s fundamental rights to freely access and share information.”

The blog did not confirm that a DDoS attack was behind the takedown, but the German Wikipedia Twitter account did acknowledge that it was “paralysed by a massive and very broad DDoS hit,” at least according to Google Translate.

The community-written encyclopaedia has had issues in the past. However these more of an editorial nature.

In October 2013 for example, Wikipedia suspended more than 250 editing accounts over concerns surrounding sponsored editing.

A similar storm broke in 2012, when editors were caught promoting certain pages for cash.

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Tom Jowitt @TJowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

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