Wikipedia servers have become increasingly unavailable as of approximately 1:00 PM Eastern, today Friday September 6.
Thousands of users who try to connect to the site find themselves facing a blank page. The problem is affecting the entire Wikipedia network, including all language versions of the platform.
Analysis has shown the disruptions are having a global impact with a focal point around Europe. Users in Europe were amongst the first to notice the issue. The UK was one of the earliest countries that reported a slow and choppy use of the site. This followed reports of the site then being down in several other European countries, including Poland, France, Germany, and Italy.
As of 8:30 PM Eastern Friday evening, the attack has now extended to an almost-total outage in the United States and other countries.
Confirmed: Wikipedia is experiencing intermittent global outages for the second time today; disruptions affecting all language editions of the online encyclopedia began 6:00 p.m. UTC; incident ongoing ?
? https://t.co/OyuN6MwxIH pic.twitter.com/ov83LExCs5
— NetBlocks.org (@netblocks) September 6, 2019
At the time, no spokesperson was immediately available for comment at the Wikimedia Foundation, which manages the website.
However, Wikimedia Germany then reported a “massive and very” broad DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack on the Wikimedia Foundation servers, making the website impossible to access for many users.
Die Wikimedia-Server der @Wikimedia Foundation, auf denen auch Wikipedia gehostet wird, werden gerade durch einen massiven und sehr breit angelegten DDoS-Angriff lahm gelegt. #Wikipedia und ihre Schwesterprojekte sind daher vorübergehend nicht erreichbar. Sorry! https://t.co/fAemzOGhfm
— WikimediaDeutschland (@WikimediaDE) September 6, 2019
The Wikimedia Foundation usually has several measures in place to mitigate attacks such as this. DDoS attacks are often orchestrated by disgruntled users and even governments that are unhappy with the way they're portrayed by some articles on the site.
The motivation and origin of the DDoS attacks are not yet known but Wikipedia says that it's working to restore access to the site.
Wikipedia has been experiencing intermittent outages today as a result of a malicious attack. We're continuing to work on restoring access. #wikipediadown
— Wikipedia (@Wikipedia) September 7, 2019
Wikipedia has been banned in Turkey for some time and is heavily censored in China.