Owing to denial of service (DDoS ) attack, BBC’s main news website was down for many hours on Thursday. Visitors received an error message. The BBC released an official statement that the outage has taken place owing to a technical issue, but the problem was later attributed to the attack.
The issue was identified at 2am EST and was resolved by 5.30 am EST. In the attack, BBC’s main news website, BBC's iPlayer streaming video catch-up service and iPlayer Radio app, were also affected. BBC has even apologized for the DDoS attack, which means that more traffic was sent beyond the capacity to handle.
It is not the first time that website has been affected as such attack is common to temporarily make websites inaccessible. “The BBC Web site is now back up and operating normally. We apologise for any inconvenience you may have experienced”, said a BBC spokesperson.
BBC correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones said that BBC faced a DDoS attack, but now the services have been fully restored. Digital Attack Map, collaboration between Google Ideas and Arbor Networks, which tracks DDoS incidents, said that such a type of an attack is an attempt to make online services unavailable by burdening it with traffic from different sources.
Arbor Networks' ATLAS threat monitoring system said that in the last 24 hours, Great Britain has witnessed a large number of DDoS-related botnet activity with more than 3,000 machines launching attacks. In the first quarter of 2015, 25 attacks were reported across the world larger than 100 Gbps by Arbor Networks. Out of them, the largest one was a 334 Gbps attack on a network operator in Asia.
Across the globe, the average size of a DDoS attack is generally increasing. Such attacks lead to considerable damage, though they are temporary with 90% lasting less than one hour.
According to a report from the Variety, a cyber attack — officially known as a “distributed denial of service” attack — took the BBC website and streaming service, iPlayer, offline on Thursday. Visitors to the sites were greeted by an error message, “Error 500 – Internal Error,” which stayed in place for around three hours.
The BBC initially described it as a “technical issue.” The press office tweeted: “We’re aware of a technical issue affecting the BBC website and are working to fix this now. We’ll update you as soon as we can.”
Folks trying to access the BBC’s websites or catch up on the latest episode of EastEnders on the iPlayer platform this morning were met with error messages for several hours. That set #BBCdown trending on Twitter. All sites were unavailable Thursday beginning at 7AM local time, but were restored a few hours later. The BBC initially put the problem down to a “technical issue,” although BBC News has now reported the cause was a “large web attack” aka a “distributed denial of service” attack, told the Deadline.
The NY Times notes that, many of the BBC’s websites and popular video-on-demand services were offline for roughly three hours Thursday morning, although its television and radio stations were not affected.
While a statement posted by the BBC on Twitter said the blackout had been caused by a technical issue, unidentified people in the company were quoted on the BBC news website as saying that a “distributed denial of service” attack had struck the digital services.