January 19, 2015

Outage of Several French News Sites Not Caused by DDoS: Web Host Oxalide

DDoS Attack
Starting at around 8:30am CET Friday morning, several French news websites including L’Express and Libération, were offline for approximately an hour.
These sites were all hosted by Oxalide, a web host with colocation space in Equinix data centers north of Paris, which has stated on Twitter that the incident went to the heart of its network.
While it continues to investigate the cause, it has ruled out a Distributed Denial of Service attack waged by extremist groups, which are expected to be behind an outage involving 19,000 French websites.
Oxalide has been updating customers via Twitter, noting its work to restore its entire service and that it’s investigating the issue. It’s aiming to provide a more complete picture of why the service went down by this afternoon.

In the aftermath of the Jan. 7, 2015 the attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, there has been a series of cyberattacks. This has included a group known as AnonGhost which has been attacking French sites (claiming to have crippled 100 websites) and using the hashtag “#OpFrance” on social media.
But hackers have not just targeted France but also the U.S. which is seen as a force that opposes Muslim extremism. For instance, a group known as Cyber Caliphate attacked US military social media accounts this week.
Meanwhile, hacker group Anonymous has been directing its efforts against terrorist groups, using tactics such as DDoS attacks to bring down extremist websites (including AnsarAlhaqq.net), and attempting to crowd source a list of suspected terrorist Twitter accounts.
It seems that given the websites it hosts, Oxalide would be major political target for extremist hackers, and yet it could also be a technical error that just happens to coincide with the terrorist attacks in France.
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