‘Internal error’ takes down NSA website, official admits
Spokesperson denies NSA website's absence was due to hacking and blames technical error during scheduled update
The National Security Agency’s website went down for several hours on Friday, but the US spy service known for hacking into computer networks and Angela Merkel’s mobile phone blamed the glitch on a technical mistake.
The website, NSA.gov, went down late on Friday, setting off speculation on Twitter that the site may have suffered a denial of service attack by hackers.
But an NSA spokesperson denied the claims, saying they were “not true”.
“NSA.gov was not accessible for several hours tonight because of an internal error that occurred during a scheduled update. The issue will be resolved this evening,” the spokesperson added.
“Claims that the outage was caused by a distributed denial of service attack are not true.”
The website was operational again around 10.30pm local time.
The hacker group Anonymous joked about the incident in a tweet, without saying if it had played any role. “Aw don’t panic about nsa.gov being down. They have a backup copy of the internet,” it said.
The loosely organised, international hacker collective has frequently clashed with US authorities over file-sharing as well as allowing banks to handle donations to the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks.
The NSA has been at the centre of a furore over its vast electronic surveillance operations, revealed in a series of leaks from former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, who has obtained asylum in Russia.