On Tablet’s Server Outages
DDOS attacks, the Jonah Lehrer story, and this website
For the last several months, Tablet Magazine’s servers have been coming under recurring distributed denial-of-service attacks, or DDOS attacks. Yesterday we suffered two major attacks, the first around 1:30 p.m., shortly after we posted Michael C. Moynihan’s explosive article about the further dishonesty of Jonah Lehrer, the author and New Yorker writer.
The Lehrer story brought us an unprecedentedly large legitimate traffic load. Some commentators and observers speculated that that’s what brought us down. It’s true that the rush of readers coming to the Lehrer story was much larger than normal, but I am assured by our IT team that we had more than sufficient bandwith and server memory to handle it. Notably, for several midafternoon hours, when we were not under attack, we served extraordinarily high traffic loads uneventfully.
Our IT team strongly believes that what we were experiencing—and have been for some time—are sophisticated attacks specifically targeting Tablet, not just run-of-the-mill Internet-as-Wild-West hijinks. It is possible that whoever is out to get us seized on a moment when we had high publicity and high server demand to attack. It sounds a little paranoid, granted, but as the saying goes, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. The romantic in me hopes it’s the Iranians.
Meantime, we’re doing what we can to keep the site up, and we apologize for our no-doubt maddening unreliability. And if you’re a DDOS-mitigation expert who’s eager for some pro-bono work, you know where to find us.