The official website for the National Security Agency (NSA) appears to be down, and has been in this state for a few hours. It’s not clear who or what is causing the issue, but the prime suspect is an individual or group conducting a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack.
IsItDownRightNow says the outage started at around 2:02PM EST. “Nsa.gov is DOWN for everyone,” the site says. “It is not just you. The server is not responding…”
An Anonymous account that often claims responsibility for such attacks (though these are just as often disputed) was at first quick to comment and insinuate he or she knew something. Over an hour later, the individual refused to claim he or she took down the site:
PS. I am Just sharing, I am not taking responsibility about #NSA being down, maybe yes maybe not, It's neutral!
— Anonymous Own3r (@AnonymousOwn3r) October 25, 2013
It’s frankly unlike that Anonymous is behind the outage. None of their Twitter accounts have claimed responsibility and others are just poking fun:
Aww don't panic about http://t.co/BCCEvVEoQL being down. They have a backup copy of the internet.
— Anonymous (@AnonyOps) October 25, 2013
At the same time, The Washington Post’s Brian Fung has confirmed that the NSA is investigating:
An NSA spokesperson tells me they're looking into the website outage, won't say whether it's a DDoS attack.
— Brian Fung (@b_fung) October 25, 2013
While who is behind the attack isn’t clear, the motive isn’t difficult to guess. Edward Snowden has leaked plenty of documents regarding the NSA’s surveillance programs. In fact, given how broad these programs are, the party responsible for this attack, if it really is an attack, could be anyone from a disgruntled teenager in his basement controlling a botnet to an army of hackers hired by an affected government. Chances are it’s somewhere in between.
Update on October 26: The website is now fully operational again. The NSA is blaming an “internal error” for the outage.
Top Image Credit: Getty Images