Parts of Wikipedia offline after ‘malicious’ attack
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Parts of Wikipedia offline after ‘malicious’ attack

Wikimedia Foundation says assault that shut down its servers by swamping them with false demands threatened ‘fundamental rights to freely access and share information’

Illustrative: A hacker at work. (supershabashnyi, iStock by Getty Images)
Illustrative: A hacker at work. (supershabashnyi, iStock by Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, United States — Popular online reference website Wikipedia went down in several countries after the website was targeted by what it described as a “malicious attack.”

The server of the Wikimedia Foundation, which hosts the site, suffered a “massive” Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, the organization’s German account said in a tweet late Friday.

In a separate statement the Wikimedia Foundation said that the attack on the encyclopedia — one of the world’s most popular websites — was “ongoing” and teams were working to restore access.

DDoS attacks often involve legions of zombie computers — machines infected with viruses and commanded to simultaneously visit a website.

Screen capture of the homepage from the online encyclopedia website, Wikipedia. (Wikipedia)

Such a massive onslaught of demand can overwhelm website computer servers, slowing service or knocking them offline.

Wikimedia condemned the breach of its server, saying it threatened “everyone’s fundamental rights to freely access and share information.”

Similar cyber attacks have hammered other popular internet domains including Twitter, Facebook and Google in recent years.

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