Services & Software

GitHub suffers through second day of denial-of-service attacks

The site, a repository for open-source code and a popular place to find coding talent, was knocked out of service yesterday and is attacked again today.

GitHub, a leading repository of open-source code, has been hit by two days of denial-of-service attacks.

The attacks, which shut the service down temporarily on Thursday, and which slowed it down today before things returned to normal, were an odd turn of events for a site that's a favorite among coders, and an increasingly popular place to find programming talent.

According to GitHub's Liz Clinkenbeard, the service suffered a "major service interruption" due to a distributed denial-of-service attack yesterday, and a minor interruption on GitHub Pages today due to a denial-of-service attack. The service is back to normal as of this writing.

The troubles began yesterday just after 1 p.m. PT, and by 1:41 p.m., GitHub had "temporarily disabled service," according to an official status page. By 2:44 p.m., GitHub's performance was "stabilizing," and the company said it was looking into additional measures it could take to "harden ourselves against future attacks, similar or otherwise."

Clearly, those measures weren't put in place fast enough, as the site was once again attacked at about 12:15 p.m. PT today. But by 2:11 p.m., everything was back to normal.

Clinkenbeard told CNET that she didn't have any details about who launched the attack against GitHub, or why they did so. And it's not the first time the service has had someone try to take it down. But it's hard to explain why this would happen to a service that's increasingly favored by coders because of its place in the open-source community.

"I was talking to my friend [who] runs a tech screening process for looking at engineers," Andreessen Horowitz partner Ben Horowitz told CNET this summer. "I said, 'What do you use for recruiting?' He said GitHub. I said why not LinkedIn? He said, 'why would I look at their resume when I can look at a body of work?' And since he said that to me, I ask everybody [what they use] for engineer recruiting, and everybody uses GitHub. That's a big deal. It means if you're an engineer and you don't use GitHub, you don't exist."

Indeed, some find it hard to imagine why anyone would want to try to take down the service. As Twitter user Freddy Montes put it, a "DDOS attack to [GitHub] is like hitting your mom on Mother's Day."