January 14 2006
Washington - The website of the National Security Agency, which has
been under scrutiny because of domestic wiretaps it conducted without
warrants, was inaccessible for more than seven hours.
A spokesperson, Don Weber, would not say whether the site suffered an
attack by hackers or a technical glitch caused Friday's outage.
Speaking shortly after the site went back online, he said only that
employees had worked to restore access.
Internet experts at Keynote Systems, which monitors web traffic around
the world, said access to the NSA's website by visitors across the
United States was severely limited.
"This condition would indicate to me that either the site is being
overwhelmed with legitimate users or a (denial of service) attack,"
said Shawn White, the director for Keynote's external operations.
The NSA, known for eavesdropping and code-breaking, also helps protect
computer systems deemed vital to the nation's security, such as those
involved in intelligence, cryptography and weapons.
"This illustrates that even technologically savvy people have a hard
time fighting off denial of service attacks," said Alan Paller,
research director for the SANS Institute in Bethesda, Maryland, a
computer security organization.
Internet records indicate the NSA's website is contracted to Lingual
Information System Technologies of Columbia, Maryland. An operator
there said no executives were available to comment on the outage
because they had left for the weekend. - Sapa-AP
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