Feedly, one of the most popular post-Google Reader RSS readers, has been unavailable for hours due to a denial of service attack against the site.
According to a post on Feedly’s blog, whoever is perpetrating the attack is trying to extort money from the company, but it “refused to give in.” Feedly is currently working on infrastructure changes that will prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future.
I have long been of the opinion that denial of service attacks – the process of flooding a website with so many requests for web pages that it essentially becomes overwhelmed and stops working – doesn’t really qualify as hacking. It doesn’t grant the person doing it with access to anyone’s data. In fact, it doesn’t really have any effect on the data at all. It’s more like a sit-in, effectively shutting down a business by blocking access.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a nuisance. If I were the owners of Feedly, I’d be apoplectic. But I think if no data is stolen or damaged, the punishments for these types of behaviors generally exceeds the seriousness of the crime. Extortion, on the other hand, is a different thing entirely. Here’s hoping Feedly is back on its feet soon.