As I write this, Twitter, the popular social networking site is experiencing a distributed denial of service attack. I do not know where the attacks are originating from, or the reason, but it occurs to me there may be hell to pay.
So what motives? Perhaps the bad guys are upset that Twitter has recently started filtering URLs in order to cut back on the amount of malware the user’s experience. Twitter’s actions must have hurt the bottom line of some criminal organizations, but there are still other ways thieves can make money and they make none at all if Twitter is down.
This leads to the thought that either it is a revenge attack by a disgruntled idiot or an attempt to gain fame by a hacker with more technical skills than brains. If it isn’t an organized criminal group that is attacking Twitter I would expect the attacker will draw the ire of criminal groups that abuse Twitter for illegal gains. Somebody is hitting the criminal element in the wallet by attacking Twitter.
Update: It occurs to me that this could be how a major botnet operator markets a botnet. "If I can do that to Twitter, imagine what I can do for you". There may be another intended target and Twitter was simply the proving grounds.
Director of Technical Education
Author ESET Research, We Live Security