E-commerce giant Amazon has said that outages at its European sites over the weekend were the result of hardware problems and not distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks.
The firm suffered downtime of about half an hour on Sunday. Although there was talk of the Anonymous group of web vigilantes launching an attack against the site as part of its Operation Payback campaign, it appears that this was not the case.
"The brief interruption to our European retail sites last night was due to hardware failure in our European datacentre network and not the result of a [distributed denial of service] attempt," said the e-commerce firm in a statement.
The timing of the outage is remarkable, as the firm's web sites were last week set to be the target of an attack by Anonymous, acting in revenge for Amazon Web Services' decision to stop hosting the WikiLeaks web site.
In a press release put out at the end of last week, Anonymous said it would not attack Amazon as it would be in bad taste in the run-up to Christmas.
“While it is indeed possible that Anonymous may not have been able to take Amazon.com down in a DDoS attack, this is not the only reason the attack never occurred,” it said, suggesting that it did not want to alienate consumers and the general public.
“After the attack was so advertised in the media, we felt that it would affect people such as consumers in a negative way and make them feel threatened by Anonymous. Simply put, attacking a major online retailer when people are buying presents for their loved ones, would be in bad taste.”
Anonymous appears to be keen to distance itself from becoming an internet villain here, and even downplayed its successful attacks on PayPal.
“The continuing attacks on PayPal are already tested and preferable: while not damaging their ability to process payments, they are successful in slowing their network down just enough for people to notice and thus, we achieve our goal of raising awareness,” it added.
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