Server Trouble? Blame IranS

Is your company's Web server hosed again? Give your beleaguered sysadmins and programmers a break and blame hackers. Preferably Iranian hackers. It's all the rage! Just ask The Atlantic and Boing Boing.

Boing Boing, the tech culture blog, went down today, and briefly thought it was under attack. BB blogger (and old Gawker Media hand) Joel Johnson tweeted that the site had been the victim of "cyberwar." The site had only hours earlier posted a "Cyberwar guide for Iran elections;" we asked Johnson via IM if he thought Iran was attacking Boing Boing:

Server Trouble? Blame IranS

Server Trouble? Blame IranS



Later, the real culprit emerged: It was Boing Boing's fault; the site had somehow posted every post ever to the front page, resulting in a 171MB index.html.

A similar drama unfurled yesterday on Andrew Sullivan's blog for The Atlantic. Sullivan, who has been blogging heavily about the situation in Iran, proclaimed he was under "digital attack," later clarified to be a denial of service attack. Then later, "it turns out our servers have just been overwhelmed... the tech staff has now ruled out a... attack."

(While Sullivan was under-credited for his tech problems, he was over-credited when Twitter reversed a decision to delay a planned outage, as Sullivan had urged. Though some observers said Sullivan was key to Twitter's reversal, it later emerged that the State Department liked played the crucial role in lobbying the microblogging service.)

If the Iranian regime does have the capacity to launch some sort of cyberattack, now may be the ideal time: There have been so many false alarms, it will take significantly longer to respond to the real thing.