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Twitter paralyzed by denial of service attack [Updated]

August 6, 2009 |  8:38 am

Twitter-statusUpdated, 9:41 a.m.: Though Twitter pages were accessible at the time of the original writing, the site again appeared to be down or intermittently accessible as of this update.

Updated, 9:47 a.m. Twitters added the following update to its status page: "As we recover, users will experience some longer load times and slowness. This includes timeouts to API clients. We’re working to get back to 100% as quickly as we can."  The outage is still affecting Twitter.com pages as well, some of which will not load in some locations.

Hit by what appears to be a deliberate attack, Twitter was down Thursday morning for more than half an hour before coming back online [see update above].

"We are defending against a denial-of-service attack," the site wrote on its official status blog. Shortly after, Twitter updated the post to say the site had come back online, but that the attack was ongoing. "We are continuing to defend against and recover from this attack."

A denial of service attack, or DoS, is generally an attempt by outsiders to overload a website with huge numbers of computer-generated requests -- for instance, to refresh a Web page. Because sites have a limited capacity to handle such requests, a deliberate deluge of this sort can cause servers to respond slowly to legitimate users, or not at all.

Twitter has grown dramatically in the last year, reaching tens of millions of users worldwide; Nielsen's Web ratings service said Twitter reached nearly 10% of online users in June.

An inquiry to NTT America, which provides Internet service to Twitter, was not immediately returned.

To read more about it, click here

-- David Sarno

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