A few hours ago, Twitter suffered a major outage that spanned across the micro-blogging site’s website and mobile applications. Though the service may be up and running as usual now, one would wonder what actually caused the site to suffer an outage of this magnitude. A report by Reuters claims that the reason could have in fact been a hack attack.
Twitter suffers major outage
Twitter issued a statement saying, “At approximately 9:00am PDT, we discovered that Twitter was inaccessible for all web users, and mobile clients were not showing new Tweets. We immediately began to investigate the issue and found that there was a cascading bug in one of our infrastructure components. This wasn’t due to a hack or our new office or Euro 2012 or GIF avatars, as some have speculated today. A “cascading bug” is a bug with an effect that isn’t confined to a particular software element, but rather its effect “cascades” into other elements as well. One of the characteristics of such a bug is that it can have a significant impact on all users, worldwide, which was the case today.”
Though the post reads that it could be a cascading bug, the report by Reuters state that this statement came shortly after a hacker outfit UgNazi said it launched a DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack on the website. The report states, “Twitter's statements came after UgNazi – an emerging hacker outfit that recently gained publicity for breaking into Cloudflare chief executive Matthew Prince's personal Google email account – claimed credit for the service disruption in an email to Reuters, saying it launched a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against Twitter because of the company's support for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.”
The article went on to state that a security professional informed them that UgNazi may have not been solely responsible for the attack and may have used a DDoS-for-hire site to help in launching the attack on Twitter. However, he claimed that this may have not been the sole reason for the site going down with the backend of Twitter facing issues at the same time.
Continuing their statement Twitter said, “As soon as we discovered it, we took corrective actions, which included rolling back to a previous stable version of Twitter. We began recovery at around 10:10am PDT, dropped again around 10:40am PDT, and then began full recovery at 11:08am PDT. We are currently conducting a comprehensive review to ensure that we can avoid this chain of events in the future. For the past six months, we’ve enjoyed our highest marks for site reliability and stability ever: at least 99.96% and often 99.99%. In simpler terms, this means that in an average 24-hour period, twitter.com has been stable and available to everyone for roughly 23 hours, 59 minutes and 40-ish seconds.”
Were you affected by the Twitter outage? Do you think it was hackers or a backend issue? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.