Wikipedia, the world’s most popular multilingual online encyclopedia, fell victim to an international cyberattack which forced the site to temporarily shutdown.
The attacked forced the site offline from Friday afternoon until Saturday morning, with millions of users across Europe and parts of the Middle East left unable to access the site
Wikimedia’s German Twitter account confirmed the shutdown was due to a denial-of-service attack (DDoS), which is when an attack forces numerous Internet-connected devices to send network communication requests to one specific service or website with the intention of overwhelming it with false traffic or requests.
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In a statement posted online, Wikipedia stated: “Today, Wikipedia was hit with a malicious attack that has taken it offline in several countries for intermittent periods. The attack is ongoing and our Site Reliability Engineering team is working hard to stop it and restore access to the site.
“As one of the world’s most popular sites, Wikipedia sometimes attracts “bad faith” actors. Along with the rest of the web, we operate in an increasingly sophisticated and complex environment where threats are continuously evolving.
“Because of this, the Wikimedia communities and Wikimedia Foundation have created dedicated systems and staff to regularly monitor and address risks. If a problem occurs, we learn, we improve, and we prepare to be better for next time.
“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. We in the Wikimedia movement and Foundation are committed to protecting these rights for everyone.
“Right now, we’re continuing to work to restore access wherever you might be reading Wikipedia in the world. We’ll keep you posted.”
At this point it is unclear who is responsible for the attack and, according to website Downdetector, some parts of Europe are still experiencing difficulties accessing the site.