WIKIPEDIA, THE WEBSITE that effortlessly makes people believe they're in an expert in everything from Pokemon lore to quantum mechanics, was taken down on Friday night by a DDoS attack on crowdsourced knowledge.
In a particularly vindictive twist, the site went down around 7pm BST - the peak time for pissed-up pub arguments that can only be settled with a Google search.
The site was down for millions of users throughout Europe and in parts of the Middle East, but returned on Saturday morning. A spokesperson from Wikipedia put blame for the "malicious attack" on "bad actors" in a blog post explaining things.
"As one of the world's most popular sites, Wikipedia sometimes attracts ‘bad faith' actors," the post reads. "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."
That's as detailed as the post goes, although the German Wikipedia Twitter account confirmed that it was "paralysed by a massive and very broad DDoS hit". That's how Google Translate frames it anyway, and we like the dramatic overtones.
Just in case there was any doubt, Wikipedia isn't a big fan of having its site taken down, returning the world to the dark old days of consulting books with the associated risks of paper cuts and painful toe drops.
"We condemn these sorts of attacks," the post continued. "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."
It's back online now, anyway. Just remember these hellish 12 hours next time the site badgers you with a request for a £3 donation. µ
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