Hitting The Panic Button

Today we saw that the NY Times website went down. These things happen. I'm rather amazed however that the media's first reaction seems to be that a DDoS attack is the only possible answer. Moments after the site went down, the panic buttons were being pushed by media outlets. One in particular was Fox Business.

From Fox Business:

Both the newspaper, NYtimes.com, and its corporate site, NYTco.com, were down at about 11:30 am ET. The outage, which appeared as "HTTP 503 Service Unavailable," was also reported on Sitedown.co. 


It’s not clear who may be behind the latest intrusion for the Times.


“They have obviously been compromised before. It doesn’t take much to rent a botnet and do an attack that just consumes the bandwidth and resources,” said Ron Gula, CEO of cyber-security firm Tenable Network Security and a former National Security Agency official.

Sometimes we should take a moment to pause and think about things before rushing to conclusions. Is it possible, just possible that there may be another possible reason for NY Times being offline? Could it be possible, however remote, that maybe something went horribly awry with a patch application or software update? And when did "experiencing technical difficulties" become a euphemism for a DDoS or intrusion? Here is a thought, why don't we wait to have something more concrete to go on? 

Now let's think about this "source" from inside the NY Times. They have put forth a theory that, while apparently uncorroborated, has negatively affected share holder value. I would simply love to know who their source was on this story. To be clear, incidents take time to resolve, and the people who can authoritatively talk on the issue are the people who don't have time to talk to the press because they're a little busy right now. Incident response is usually 3 hours of grabbing logs; looking through change logs and configs and diagnostics; and 10 minutes of actually fixing the problem. Folks tend to work on the issue you at hand rather than running to the press. I know, I've been there, done that enough times that I have the t-shirt. 

There could be some serious fall out from this if in fact it turns out to be exactly that, a bad patch. Sober second thought never hurts. Not sure when this became an outmoded concept.

Occam's Razor exists for a reason. 

(Image used under CC from Isaac Z. Schlueter)

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