Wikipedia suffers DDoS attack causing worldwide service disruption

The DDoS attack on Wikipedia is first of its kind.

The popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia has suffered a DDoS attack over the weekend that crippled its service preventing millions of users from accessing the platform.

On Friday according to Down Detector’s Outage Map, a service that keeps track of online platforms facing connectivity issues, Wikipedia users in the Middle East and Europe were impacted by the outage while some parts of Iran and Russia were also facing connectivity issues.

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

However, on Sunday 8th and Monday 9th, the outage map revealed Wikipedia was also facing service disruption in the United States.

Down Detector’s Outage Map

In a detailed response to the attack, Wikimedia Foundation said in its blog post that “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.”

On the other hand, it is still unclear who was behind the DDoS attack and what were their intentions. However, on Twitter, a profile going by the online handle of @UKDrillas claimed responsibility for the attacks. 

In one of such tweets, @UKDrillas claimed that they used compromised smart devices to carry out the attack. It is worth mentioning that lately, hackers have been using vulnerable and unauthentic smart devices such as vending machines security cameras, coffee machines, Smart TV, and even Internet-connected cars to conduct DDoS and ransomware attacks.

Screenshot: Twitter/UkDrillas

In a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack) the incoming traffic flooding the victim originates from many different sources. This effectively makes it impossible to stop the attack simply by blocking a single source.

At the time of publishing this article; @UKDrillas’s Twitter account was suspended while Wikipedia was still suffering service disruption in most parts of Europe.

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