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New York Times site down due to possible cyberattack

The New York Times Web site is down for the second time this month, and this time the paper says it's likely from a "malicious external attack."

Ramin Talaie/Getty Images

The New York Times Web site went down Tuesday afternoon, after what the paper's spokeswoman called a "malicious external attack."

Readers who tried to access the site started seeing error messages as earlier as 12 p.m. PT, according to Bloomberg. This is the second time this month the site has had an outage. About two weeks ago, the site experienced the same problem, but the Times said then that it was an internal issue despite reports of a cyberattack.

The Time's Vice President of Corporate Communications Eileen Murphy tweeted that Tuesday's outage was "most likely result of malicious external attack."

The Syrian Electronic Army hackers group is claiming responsibility for the attack, as well as a concurrent attack on the domains of Twitter and Huffington Post UK. The group says it's taken control of the Web site addresses.

In the past, the SEA has claimed responsibility for hacking several media Twitter accounts, including Reutersand the Onion.

The Wall Street Journal dropped its paywall temporarily, letting users read its articles, including its coverage on the Times' outage, without a subscription. The Times continues to publish news by routing users to a stripped down version of its site.

The Times did not return requests for a comment. The newspaper's report on the situation said the attack was on the company's domain registrar, Melbourne IT. Staff members were restricted from sending out sensitive e-mails, according to the report, and Chief Information Officer Marc Frons told employees that the outage was "the result of a malicious external attack by the Syrian Electronic Army," or, "someone trying very hard to be them."

Last update, 4:08 p.m. PT: This article was updated multiple times to add more information.