Twitter brought down by hackers

19:50, December 18, 2009      

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Microblogging site Twitter was rendered inaccessible for a short time on Friday after hackers targeted the site.

Calling themselves the Iranian Cyber Army the hackers apparently managed to change DNS records, redirecting traffic to another Web page. Instead of the usual Twitter site design, visitors to the site instead saw a black screen with an image of a green flag and Arabic writing.

The defaced site also included a message that said, "This site has been hacked by Iranian Cyber Army," along with an e-mail address.

"The USA thinks they control and manage internet access, but they don't. We control and manage the Internet with our power, so do not try to incite Iranian people," the message continued. Those attempting to access the site via Tweetdeck, Hootsuite or the dozens of other third-party clients that give access to Twitter received only errors.

Whether or not Iranian hackers were responsible for the attack wasn't immediately clear. However, Twitter and other Internet sites have been used by Iranian opposition groups and protestors to share details of anti-government protests in that country. Meanwhile, Twitter blamed the outage on changes made to the company's DNS (Domain Name System) records, which match the company's domain name with the IP addresses of its servers.

"Twitter's DNS records were temporarily compromised but have now been fixed," the company said in a statement, "We are looking into the underlying cause and will update with more information soon." Based on Twitter's account of the attack, it is possible that the company's servers were never compromised. The actual attack may have instead targeted Dyn, the DNS service provider that manages Twitter's DNS records, according to whois records.

Whatever the cause, the outage left Twitter users cut off from the service for about an hour, though the type of attack wasn't serious, according to Dhillon Andrew Kannabhiran, founder and CEO of Hack In The Box, a Malaysian company that runs security conferences in Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

"Yawn, is my comment. It was a simple defacement. So what?" Kannabhiran said. The site went down at down at around 6 a.m. GMT but was accessible again after two hours.

Source: Xinhua
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