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Denial of Service Attack Takes Out Several Online Retailers

A denial of service (DDoS) attack Wednesday on the servers of DNS provider UltraDNS took out several major websites, including retailer Amazon, for almost an hour on Wednesday. The company provides DNS services for Amazon, Wal-Mart, Expedia, and a host of other sites, and the attack rendered these sites unreachable even though they were not attacked directly.

Of course, this attack is even more noteworthy considering it came during the waning days of the holiday shopping season, and likely put a brief kink in the shopping plans of a few last minute shoppers.

The attack occurred at around 4:45pm Pacific time, and was directed at Neustar’s servers (the owners of UltraDNS) in Palo Alto and San Jose, Calif. Neustar was able to detect it quickly and counter it somewhat, lessening the overall impact. Even so, websites served by either company became unusable for much of that hour until the attack subsided. Most sites were back to normal by 6:00pm.

Some are suggesting the attack may have been more widespread: other sites that are not serviced by UltraDNS were said to be experiencing problems as well, including the online game Second Life.


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