RSS Reader Feedly is Being Held Hostage By a DDOS Attack

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 - 11:14 AM

Feedly log in error from this morning

Feedly, one of the most popular post-Google Reader RSS readers, has been unavailable for hours due to a denial of service attack against the site.

According to a post on Feedly's blog, whoever is perpetrating the attack is trying to extort money from the company, but it "refused to give in." Feedly is currently working on infrastructure changes that will prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future.

I have long been of the opinion that denial of service attacks - the process of flooding a website with so many requests for web pages that it essentially becomes overwhelmed and stops working - doesn't really qualify as hacking. It doesn't grant the person doing it with access to anyone's data. In fact, it doesn't really have any effect on the data at all. It's more like a sit-in, effectively shutting down a business by blocking access. 

Don't get me wrong, it's a nuisance. If I were the owners of Feedly, I'd be apoplectic. But I think if no data is stolen or damaged, the punishments for these types of behaviors generally exceeds the seriousness of the crime. Extortion, on the other hand, is a different thing entirely. Here's hoping Feedly is back on its feet soon.


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Comments [5]


I think the "sit-in" metaphor is tin-eared. Admittedly, there are DDoS attacks which are ideologically motivated, but even they tend to be more lashing out at an enemy than trying to change someone's mind. This attack is simple extortion.

I agree, however, that we should not lump all "computer crimes" in the same big bin. This is not an act of cyberwarfare and the perpetrators shouldn't be headed to Gitmo. It is organized crime and should be prosecuted accordingly, like shutting down a business with a brick through a window or attempted arson.

Jun. 12 2014 09:55 AM
Harold Goldner from SE Pennsylvania

It's thuggery in a new form, and should be taken seriously. Equally evil are sites that scrub information from the internet, package it on their own "website" and purport to have new information (while probably really collecting user data in the background). Take a look at this site as an example. Your very post; repeated verbatim:

Jun. 11 2014 02:40 PM
Rachel from NY

This is ruining my day! Extreme penalties to the attacker! But seriously, this is affecting many people's ability to conduct business. Readers, bloggers, news feeds, and Feedly itself rely on this. This is most certainly affecting interstate commerce and should be prosecuted accordingly.

Jun. 11 2014 12:31 PM
Eric Goebelbecker

So it's not a problem because nothing is stolen.....except Feedly's ability to conduct business. No skin off your nose.

Jun. 11 2014 12:04 PM
craig henry from harrisburg, pa

More than a nuisance for a business that depends heavily on their website for commerce or a customer who relies on a service like feedly.

Jun. 11 2014 11:37 AM

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TLDR is a short podcast and blog about the internet by Meredith Haggerty. You can subscribe to the TLDR podcast here. You can follow our blog here. I tweet @manymanywords and @tldr.

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