"On this otherwise happy Thursday morning, Twitter is the target of a denial of service attack. Attacks such as this are malicious efforts orchestrated to disrupt and make unavailable services such as online banks, credit card payment gateways, and in this case, Twitter for intended customers or users."
Unlike the last attack on Twitter, in which a hacker got a hold of almost 300 pages worth of confidential documents, this one's sole purpose was to make the site inaccessible to its users.
For two hours, Twitter's millions of users and much of the ecosystem that makes use of its API were deemed useless.
How a DoS attack functions.
Our lead engineer explained it to me like this, it's basically when an enormous amount of requests are made on a site's servers to bring it down. If this attack was a distributed denial of service attack, it means Twitter was attacked from what could have potentially been thousands of computers attempting to log in at the exact same time, all infected with a trojan.
This in turn affected Facebook, in which users across the Web experienced sluggishness. Although Facebook wasn't hacked, it felt some of the heat from a larger than usual amount of users deciding to use Facebook instead of Twitter.
If Twitter really wants to be the, 'pulse of the planet,' the company better step up and figure out better ways to defend itself from these sorts of things. People across the world are beginning to rely on Twitter as a means of important communication during times of crisis. The first report of the Hudson plane crash was said to have been Tweeted.
As of the last update on Twitter's status blog, the site said it was back up, but continuing to defend and recover from the attack.