THE BBC has been the victim of a testy hacker group that used the media outfit's systems to test their own mettle.
The group, which calls itself New World Hackers, admitted in a statement that this was a show of strength, confirming its stance in a series of Twitter messages.
"We are based in the US, but we strive to take down Islamic State (IS)-affiliated websites, also IS members. We realise sometimes what we do is not always the right choice, but without cyber hackers who is there to fight off online terrorists? The reason we really targeted [the] BBC is because we wanted to see our actual server power," said a representative.
"It was only a test. We didn't exactly plan to take it down for multiple hours. Our servers are quite strong."
The group is reportedly made up of a dozen people and has been in operation since 2012.
The BBC tweeted an explanation suggesting internal technical problems as it began to feel the effects of the attack.
We're aware of a technical issue affecting the BBC website and are working to fix this now. We'll update you as soon as we can.— BBC Press Office (@bbcpress) December 31, 2015
However, the security industry was not sure and said that a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack was more likely.
"A worrisome trend in recent attacks is for threat actors to use the DDoS attack as a smokescreen or distraction to hide other malicious activity," said Dave Martin, security expert and director at NSFOCUS Global, a provider of network security and advanced analytics.
"A forensic analysis of the incident can uncover other malicious activity and be used to identify changes needed in network security to improve the organisation's overall security posture.
"Due to the severe impact of a DDoS attack, most companies will involve all technical resources capable of helping to restore service until the threat has been eliminated. These costs can mount quickly over minutes, hours, days and potentially even longer."
The BBC said that the hacker group used the already available Bangstresser tool in the attack. µ
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