Wikipedia, the seventh most popular website in the world, went offline in several countries on Friday because of a cyber attack.
Wikipedia Hit By DDOS Attack
The online encyclopedia confirmed that a malicious attack was behind outages of the site in Europe and some parts of the Middle East.
The attack appears to have started before 7 p.m. BST on Friday and left the site inaccessible to users in the UK, France, Germany, The Netherlands, Italy, and parts of the Middle East.
In a tweet, Wikipedia said the Wikimedia server of Wikimedia Foundation that hosts Wikipedia was paralyzed due to a massive Distributed Denial of Service (DDOS) attack. Wikimedia Foundation, the nonprofit organization behind Wikipedia, corroborated this in an official statement.
“Today, Wikipedia was hit with a malicious attack that has taken it offline in several countries for intermittent periods,” Wikimedia Foundation said. “We condemn these sorts of attacks. They’re not just about taking Wikipedia offline. Takedown attacks threaten everyone’s fundamental rights to freely access and share information.”
The attack was still ongoing when the statement was released on Friday, Sept. 7. Wikimedia Foundation said the Site Reliability Engineering team is still working to stop the attack and to restore access to the site.
A DDOS attack occurs when a server receives more access requests than it can handle, which disrupts its normal functioning and causes server performance to slow down, or eventually not able to work at all.
The botnets that try to access the website all at the same time can be composed of tens of thousands of computers that may have been compromised by hackers without the knowledge of their owners.
Wikipedia is one of the most popular websites based on Alexa’s ranking as of June 2019. It was initially an English language encyclopedia when it was launched in January 2001. Today, Wikipedia has more than 40 million articles in 301 different languages.