A little after 3pm on Tuesday afternoon, the New York Times website stopped working. This wasn’t like a couple weeks ago when the Times‘ website went down and everyone lost their shit. That was just a technical glitch. The Times‘ chief information officer Marc Frons told… er… the Times, this outage was “the result of a malicious external attack” by “the Syrian Electronic Army, or someone trying very hard to be them.”
While explaining the issue behind the outage, the Grey Lady got adorably defensive–repeatedly emphasizing that it was not the only news outlet targeted by these particular hackers, insisting that what happened to its website took much more effort than those other attacks, and only begrudgingly noting that it was the second time the website had gone down this month.
A few excerpts:
The hacking was just the latest of a major media organization, with The Financial Times and The Washington Post also having their operations disrupted within the last few months. It was also the second time this month that the Web site of The New York Times was unavailable for several hours.
Until now, The Times has been spared from being hacked by the S.E.A., but on Aug. 15, the group attacked The Washington Post’s Web site through a third-party service provided by a company called Outbrain. At the time, the S.E.A. also tried to hack CNN.
The group, which also disrupted The Financial Times in May, has consistently denied ties to the government…
Mr. Frons said the attacks on Twitter and The New York Times required significantly more skill than the string of S.E.A. attacks on media outlets earlier this year, when the group attacked Twitter accounts for dozens of outlets including The Associated Press. Those attacks caused the stock market to plunge after the group planted false tales of explosions at the White House.
“In terms of the sophistication of the attack, this is a big deal,” Mr. Frons said. “It’s sort of like breaking into the local savings and loan versus breaking into Fort Knox. A domain registrar should have extremely tight security because they are holding the security to hundreds if not thousands of Web sites.
See what I mean? Adorable.
Relax guys, no one is saying you’re not the paper of record anymore.
The site was restored before 10pm Tuesday, but throughout the night and Wednesday morning the Times continued to tweet out a message directing readers to its mobile site.
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 28, 2013