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New York Times Website Goes Offline

The New York Times website in better days.

The New York Times website in better days.

This story was updated at 2:15 pm ET and at 4:10 pm ET Wednesday.

The New York Times website mysteriously went offline today (Aug. 14), with at least one unverified report claiming the newspaper's servers were victims of a cyberattack.

The Times site failed to load beginning about 11 am ET, and was still down nearly two hours later.

"The @nytimes site is indeed down. Problem is being fixed," tweeted Times staffer Patrick LaForge at about 11:45 am.

"The New York Times Web site is experiencing technical difficulties. We expect to be back up shortly," the official Times twitter feed said about 10 minutes later.

That didn't stop Twitter users from joking about a possible cyberattack -- or the Fox Business website from reporting one.

"The corporate and media sites of The New York Times were experiencing a major cyberattack on Wednesday afternoon, according to a source close to the matter," a report on Fox Business read. "The source, who asked not to be named due to the sensitive nature of the issue, said the newspaper has been huddling with outside security professionals to assess the threat."

Fox Business reporter Matt Egan hinted in his tweets, if not in his reports, that the Times sites were being hit by a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack, which would basically be overwhelming the Times servers with a huge number of bad requests.

Fox Business is owned by News Corporation, which also owns the Times' local and national rival, the Wall Street Journal. Other News Corporation outlets such as Fox News Channel and the New York Post rarely waste an opportunity to report negative news about the Times.

Times reporter Charlie Savage noticed that his company email service was behaving strangely.

"In addition to NYT website being down, it appears I cannot receive work account emails," Savage tweeted. "I can, however, successfully send them."

"Sounds like an attack on the name resolution," replied Massachusetts IT specialist Josh Mazgelis, suspecting a problem with the Times's Domain Name System (DNS) setup, which resolves the text-based Web addresses humans type in with the numerical Internet Protocol addresses computers use.

"The @nytimes DNS is really weird," tweeted Jonathan Vanasco. "There are 2 nameservers pointing to subdomains of http://nytimes.com  -- is that even allowed?"

Attempts to load the Times website by using some of its IP addresses, such as http://170.149.168.130/, were unsuccessful.

UPDATE: The New York Times site was restored around 1:30 pm ET, although the site's own clock continued to read "11:07 am ET" for some time.

In a tweet about 12:45 pm ET, the Times denied the outage was the result of a cyberattack, stating, "We believe the outage is the result of an internal issue, which we expect to be resolved soon."

"I haven't seen anything yet to support the story that they are suffering an attack from malicious actors, so I'm inclined to believe them for now, until something more concrete comes up," British-based security expert Graham Cluley told Tom's Guide.

"Of course, in this day and age, any unexpected downtime of a major website does almost immediately make us think that it's the result of an attack," Cluley added. "But often it could be simply the case that some guy in the IT department has goofed up some DNS settings and it's taking some time for the site to pick itself up off its knees."

UPDATE: Later, about 4 pm ET, the Times put a note on the front page of its website apologizing to readers for the outage.

"The outage occurred within seconds of a scheduled maintenance update, which we believe was the cause," read the note in part. "We are working on fully restoring service and apologize for any inconvenience."

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  • dextermat
    Outchies!!
    Reply
  • mobrocket
    Fox news had time between obama bashings to report on something else????
    Reply
  • gggplaya
    @mobrocket

    Yes, because the scandal were so phony they needed to give the Benghazi eyewitnesses fake alias names and have them sign non-disclosure agreements, because fast and furious was so phony he needed to use executive orders to seal the documents and stop the probing, because the IRS targeting scandal was so phony even louis lerner complained about the white house trying to create new ways to get around regulations a few years ago. Because Snowden is a traitor and completely wrong, the white house and congress are taking action have more oversight over the NSA data tracking.

    I'm glad the NYT website went down. They've been manipulating stats and biasing stories for a while now. They tend to offer one side of a story, then to say they are objective, they offer 1 or 2 sentences for the counter arguement but leave out all the details. They've done this so many times, i've stopped reading them altogether.
    Reply
  • ddpruitt
    Twitter users from joking about a possible cyberattack -- or the Fox Business website from reporting one.

    Shows you how "balanced" they are and how they use "reliable" sources when they need to spin a story for the morons that watch them.
    Reply
  • gm0n3y
    Oh Fox News, you so silly. They so frequently report rumor as fact that you can't really believe anything they say. As in this case, it looks like this was caused by an internal issue but Fox reports that it was a cyber attack.
    Reply
  • ethanolson
    The clocks read 11:07am for a while... means they're using good technology and after a while resorted to restoring the most recent "snapshot" before the issue arose.

    Snapshots are a wonderful thing for DR and they've saved my bacon (and my wife's bacon) on a few occasions.
    Reply