Ancestry.com brought down by DDOS attack, but says user data is safe

Ancestry.com has become the latest site to be taken down by a distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack. The genealogy website was shut down from Monday-Tuesday this week, along with its sister site, Findagrave.com.

The Provo, Utah-based company told Reuters that its sites were both targeted by excessive traffic, causing both to go offline for two days. No customer data was compromised, it said.

Scott Sorensen, chief technology officer of the company, issued a statement saying the company was working to prevent a repeat attack. “We want to apologize for the inconvenience this has caused and also thank you for your amazing support, as this may have interrupted some of your family history research,” he wrote.

Twitter users on Tuesday reported that Ancestry went off and online several times during the day, as repairs were attempted while the attack was still in progress. At the time of writing, Ancestry.com’s blog was still inaccessible.

On Wednesday, Ancestry.com posted on its Facebook page explaining that although the site had recovered from the attack, various services offered on the site would remain unavailable as they worked to restore stability to the whole site.

The most recent update was posted at 4.23pm PT on Wednesday, saying “MyCanvas.com has been restored. We are still working on the Family Tree Maker (FTM) sync issue and ask that you continue to work in ‘offline’ mode. We are working to restore MyFamily.com and Rootsweb as well and will share updates as they are available.”

Ancestry.com has more than 2 million subscribed users, and claims to be the world’s biggest family history resource, with over 14 billion records in its archives.

Some users attributed the spike in traffic to a surge in subscribers following a Fathers’ Day price reduction offer, taking to Twitter and Facebook to express their frustration.

Author Staff Writer, ESET

  • Phyllis Owens

    This article states the down time was for only 2 days (Monday – Tuesday). The Rootsweb website is still down as of Saturday, June 21, 2014 after 1pm. Someone must be really ticked off at them.

  • Ken Thompson

    Main sites now back up for viewing & update, but when i try to download a GEDCOM file from Ancestry.com, get “Operation timed out”.

  • Jessica Taylor

    As far as wait time for being back up and running, this was better than a World War II genealogy delay. :)

    http://genealogistsblog.legacytree.com/2014/06/ancestrys-cyber-attack-and-look-at.html

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