The price of popularity

The price of popularity

Today we dealt with a new issue directly related to the popularity of www.bear.org.  We suffered an ‘attack’ on our website.  Yes, that’s right… an ‘attack.’  It’s even hard for us to believe.

Many of you noticed our website was down earlier today.  During that time it was under a Denial-of-Service attack (DOS for short) or Distributed Denial-of-Service attack (DDOS for short) by an unknown party.

These attacks don't require that the attacker actually break into our website or the server it’s on.  It’s done from a distance.  Essentially they open up all possible connections for a specific service and overwhelm the server—blocking real users like you from being able to access the site.

Attacks like this hit many high profile websites.  Last year Twitter, Facebook, Livejournal, and Google Blogging were all hit by similar attacks.  So we’re not alone, but quite surprised nonetheless that we’re high profile enough to warrant such an attack.

Thank you all for your patience while we dealt with the issues.  Rest assured that no personal information stored on our website was affected.  There was no breach of the security of the server itself.  Also, credit card information used for purchases and donations is not stored on our website at all because we use PayPal for all credit card processing.

This attack was simply meant to stop the website for a time, and it succeeded.  We weathered the storm, and we hope we don't see another.

Thank you again for your patience and continued support of our efforts to bring you the most accurate information on www.bear.org.

—Eric vanBok, Website Technician, North American Bear Center

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