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DDoS Attack Forces Wikipedia Offline

Wikipedia was forced offline in several countries over the weekend after a coordinated DDoS attack.

A statement from the Wikimedia Foundation on Saturday claimed the company’s Site Reliability Engineering team was working flat out to stop the attack and restore services to customers.

“As one of the world’s most popular sites, Wikipedia sometimes attracts ‘bad faith’ actors. Along with the rest of the web, we operate in an increasingly sophisticated and complex environment where threats are continuously evolving,” it said.

“Because of this, the Wikimedia communities and Wikimedia Foundation have created dedicated systems and staff to regularly monitor and address risks. If a problem occurs, we learn, we improve, and we prepare to be better for next time.”

Reports of problems with accessing the popular site started to roll in at around 19:00 BST on Friday, spiking again at around 21:00 and then again in the early hours of Saturday morning.

Judging by the comments, a wide range of countries were affected including Italy, Norway, the UK, Germany, Egypt, Belarus, Russia, Greece and Saudi Arabia.

“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,” noted the statement. “We in the Wikimedia movement and Foundation are committed to protecting these rights for everyone.”

Although there has been no official follow-up statement, it appears as if the site was up and running as normal again in the UK, as of Monday morning.

Marc Wilczek, COO of Link11, argued that average attack bandwidth soared 97% year-on-year in Q2 2019, to 6.6Gbps, while peak attack volumes increased 25% to nearly 200Gbps — enough to overwhelm any online operation.

“With DDoS-for-hire services offering attacks of between 10 and 100Gbps to anyone for a modest fee, businesses that rely on their web presence need to deploy DDoS protection solutions that block attacks in the cloud, so that their critical online services can continue to operate without being disrupted,” he added.

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