Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts has told the popular parenting forum that servers crashed last Tuesday owing to a DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attack apparently perpetrated by someone who boasted via a now defunct Twitter account that “Nothing will be normal anymore”.
Mumsnet was restored the next day.
“To add to the ‘fun’,” Ms Roberts added, she was also the victim of a ‘swatting attack’ – whereby the attacker calls the police to the victim’s address claiming that a crime is taking place, with the intention of getting an armed response unit to turn up. Armed police arrived at her house “in the middle of the night, after reports of a gunman prowling around”.
Swatting can be life-threatening
In the gun-loving US, where the news is flooded with stories of police shooting first and asking questions later, this is a dangerous trend that could cost lives. Security investigator Brian Krebs fell victim to such an attack in March 2013 and reported only last month that one of the perpetrators had pleaded guilty to a felony conspiracy charge relating to the incident.
The DDoS attack and swatting incident weren’t the only incidents to affect Mumsnet. Some of Mumsnet’s administrative functions were hacked, and one forum user “reported that posts had been made under her name that weren’t by her” – possibly as a result of a phishing attack.
All Mumsnet users have been advised to change their passwords as a precaution.