Outage that swept French news sites 'was not a DDoS'

The outage looks to be linked to issues with the hosting provider rather than cyber criminals.

Reports that major French news sites were taken offline this morning by a massive DDoS appear to be inaccurate.

News websites including that of media group Mediapart; daily newspaper Libération; political magazine L'Express; and ZDNet.fr suffered significant outages on Friday morning. Problems began at around 8.30am CET and lasted for approximately an hour.

It was initially feared the outage could be a DDoS linked to the recent Charlie Hebdo attack, where 10 journalists and two police officers were killed. According to reports citing Arnaud Coustilliere, head of cyberdefense for the French military, DDoS attacks have been carried out against thousands of French websites by "Islamic hacker groups" following the Charlie Hebdo attack.

However, in the case of today's incident, the cause is thought to be a more straightforward one.

Oxalide, the hosting provider used by the news companies, tweeted this morning that it was investigating the cause of the incident which went "right to the heart of our network". Around an hour later, the company's Twitter account said that the cause of the problem had been identified and that some services were beginning to become functional once again.

Over an hour later, the company confirmed that a DDoS was not thought to be behind the attack.

The company added that it will provide an update as to the cause of the outage to customers by early afternoon.

According to a report published this week by European security body ENISA (European Agency for Network and Information Security), the number of DDoS attacks businesses suffered last year has significantly since 2013.

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