Tumblr went offline for several hours on Wednesday afternoon after experiencing a denial-of-service attack.
Reports of outages on the social media website first began to pop up around 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, December 21st. Tumblr said in a since-deleted tweet that the website would soon be restored. The original tweet read, “Some users are experiencing latency affecting the dashboard. We’ll get it fixed ASAP.”
About a half hour later, Tumblr went back online, but users still struggled to load web pages, and it then went down a second time.
Two hours after originally being taken offline, Tumblr tweeted, “Users continue to experience slow load times on the dashboard, on both web + mobile. Thanks for your patience while we resolve the issue.” All of the tweets providing updates have since been deleted, presumably so that out-of-date information does not spread on Twitter.
A denial-of-service attack involves flooding a network with so much traffic that it crashes, and it’s the same method that was used back in October to take down many popular websites in the United States like Netflix, Reddit, CNN, and Tumblr. That was the largest DDoS attack in history.
Tumblr was evidently taken offline today using Mirai, malware that is commonly utilized in DDoS attacks and that was used during the October 2016 attacks.
A group calling itself R.I.U. Star Patrol claimed responsibility for the DDoS. They told Mashable they had no specific motivation other than “for light hearted fun.” They suggested on Twitter more attacks would follow.
Tumblr now says that the website has been fully restored, yet even after they made this announcement, many users could not connect to site, being directed to a “Yahoo! Will be right back…” screen. Yahoo! is the parent company of Tumblr, Inc.
As of this writing, Tumblr appears to finally be back online for everyone.