Slashdot Back Online After Downtime Involving DDOS Attack

Slashdot is known for inadvertent DDOS attacks. However, the website itself experienced downtime partly thanks to one.

The social news site Slashdot experienced some downtime that extended into the weekend. On March 1, articles stopped being posted on the site. The front page itself became largely static after that. The last story posted was dated March 1 and contains a time stamp of 1:25PM.

The next day, Slashdot’s official Twitter feed said the following:

We’ve been having site performance/uptime issues including a DDOS earlier in the week (Slashdotted?). DevOps working round the clock until we’re back at full capacity. No ETA but hopeful for sometime Saturday. Rumors of our demise are greatly exaggerated. Thanks for your patience

That tweet is in reference to the Slashdot effect. Back in the 90’s and 2000’s, the website boasted some of the highest volume of traffic. At the same time, server technology and capacity couldn’t handle as large of an influx of traffic. So, if a news story got posted linking to a website not capable of handling a major influx of traffic, the site’s server would go down due to unusually high traffic.

Such effects are also more broadly known as an inadvertent DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. A standard DDOS attack often involves computers under control of a malicious actor. When an attack occurs, all those computers repeatedly send server requests all at the same time. With such a high volume of requests happening at the same time, the server gets overwhelmed and goes down.

An inadvertent DDOS attack operates very similarly. However, the key difference is that it involves actual people just browsing to a particular website all at he same time. The same effect occurs: too many requests and the server going down as a result. Slashdot, of course, was known for this and got the name “Slashdot Effect” because Slashdot linked to the page and people browsed to the site all at the same time.

Now, in a followup Tweet dated March 3 (time stamp 8:23PM), Slashdot announced that they are now back online.

Some people are jokingly saying that Slashdot got Slashdotted.

Update: We would like to give a very warm welcome to the great people of Fark. We hope you enjoy your stay. Feel free to check in with us whenever you like, you are always welcome here!

Drew Wilson on Twitter: @icecube85 and Google+.

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