Wikipedia has suffered a major DDoS attack. The attack took place during the weekend. According to Wikipedia’s official statement released on September 7, “Wikipedia was hit with a malicious attack that has taken it offline in several countries for intermittent periods”.
Users in Europe and Middle East Affected
In Europe, users in the UK, France, Germany and Italy were unable to access the website for several hours before it was restored.
“As one of the world’s most popular sites, Wikipedia sometimes attracts “bad faith” actors”, the statement also said. The good news is that the Wikimedia communities and Wikimedia Foundation have created “dedicated systems and staff to regularly monitor and address risks”.
Takedown attacks threaten everyone’s fundamental rights to freely access and share information. We in the Wikimedia movement and Foundation are committed to protecting these rights for everyone.
DDoS Attacks No Longer Require Technical Skikks
Last year, Webstresser.org, the largest DDoS-for-hire service was taken down thanks to a coordinated international operation. The DDoS provider was shut down after a thorough investigation carried out by UK’s National Crime Agency and the Dutch National Police and the Dutch National Police.
According to Europol statistics, Webstresser.org’s servers were seized in the Netherlands, the US and Germany. Thus, the 136,000 registered users lost access to the service which enabled DDoS operations for people with close-to-none technical knowledge or experience. The price for the service was quite affordable – just $14.99 per attack.
In the past, DDoS attacks used to require technical skills but with such services at hand that is no longer the case. Thanks to these services, unprofessional attackers can remotely control connected devices to direct a large amount of traffic at a website or platform they want to target. It seems that Wikipedia was the latest victim of such attackers. Bank of Spain and GitHub have also been hit by DDoS attacks.