Technology Popular AO3 fanfiction platform goes down in wave of...

Popular AO3 fanfiction platform goes down in wave of DDoS attacks


Popular fanfiction platform Archive of Our Own (AO3) is currently experiencing a spate of distributed-denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that have forced the website offline since Monday. AO3 first acknowledged the outage on the company’s official Twitter account on July 10 at 8:24 a.m. ET, confirm afterwards that the problem was caused by “a DDoS attack” – a malicious cybercrime in which threat actors flood a server with traffic – “causing the servers to collapse”.

A group claiming to be Anonymous Sudan has taken credit for the attack and is demanding a ransom to stop the ongoing operation.

The AO3 team is currently trying to defend against the attack and restore the platform, warning that in the meantime, users may encounter various error messages or display issues with the site’s layout. (The site was completely down for hours during our testing.) The company said that because DDoS attacks don’t put personal user data at risk, users won’t have to change their passwords in response to the outage. At the time of writing, no estimated timeline has been given as to when the archive will be back online. We have contacted the Organization for Transformative WorksAO3’s nonprofit parent organization, for comment and will update this story if we hear back.

A group on the Telegram messaging service claiming to be the ‘hacktivist’ organization Anonymous Sudan has claimed responsibility for the attack. According to threat intelligence provider Flash pointAnonymous Sudan has been active since January 2023 and claims responsibility for DDoS attacks against Microsoft and different companies around Europealthough it appears the group has no credible ties to the country of Sudan or the previous Anonymous group that operated within it.

AO3 has warned that these claims should be taken with a grain of salt. “A group posing as a collective of religiously and politically motivated hackers has claimed responsibility for the attack,” the platform tweeted Monday. “Cyber ​​security experts believe the group claiming responsibility is lying about their affiliation and reasons for attacking websites. View the group’s statements with skepticism.”

The Anonymous Sudan group initially claimed the attack would continue for up to 24 hours, but has since demanded a ransom for $30,000 worth of Bitcoin, threatening to keep AO3 quiet for weeks if the company does not comply. The Organization for Transformative Works (and its AO3 project) is fully supported by user donations and run by volunteers, which means that the company probably won’t be able to pay such a ransom even if this threat turns out to be real. is.

Shreya Christina
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