This is the second time that the New York Times website has gone offline and the company is describing this as a ‘malicious external attack’.
The Times notified the public via its Facebook Page that it was working on fixing the outage which started around 15:00 local time (19:00 GMT) on Tuesday.
A similar thing happened on August 14th as well when a technical glitch knocked NYTimes.com offline. According to analysts, there is evidence linking the Tuesday attack to a group supporting the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The website was partially up again three hours later but many users reported difficulties. During this outage, all the new articles were posting to its Facebook page as well as a mirror site.
Mark Frons, who is the chief information officer for the company, warned NYTimes’s employees that the Syrian Electronic Army could be behind the attack as it backs Mr. Assad or ‘someone is trying very hard to be them’.
He also cautioned all the staff to be careful while communication via emails until the situation is completely resolved. Security experts said that they have enough evidence to link the hacking group with this outage.
Ken Westin, a security researcher for Tripwire, an online security company said that as the NYTimes.com domain is pointing at a SyrianElectronicArmy.com which maps to a Russian IP address, hence proving that it is definitely a malicious attack.
In a separate post on Tuesday, the group also claimed responsibility for hacking Twitter’s administrative contact information.
Even the Washington Post, CNN and Time Magazine’s websites were targeted and it is suspected that the same group or its supporters are behind these attacks.