Bad weather blamed for knocking NSA's website offline for two days

But the timing couldn't have been worse for speculation to explode.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor
(Image: file photo)

Mystery solved.

The NSA says the weather was at fault for bringing down its website for almost two days.

The shadowy intelligence agency tweeted mid-afternoon Wednesday that it was a "tech issue" related to Monday's storm in the area of the government agency's headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland.

Issues with the NSA's website were first noted around the same time on Monday.

Kevin Beaumont, a security architect, said on Twitter that the NSA's external services -- including its website and other web-facing non-internal services -- were brought offline, though he suspected that the agency itself "pulled [the] plug."

However, looking at the weather forecast for Monday, there were thunderstorms and heavy rain during the late evening in the Fort Meade, Maryland area, where the NSA's headquarters is based.

But the timing couldn't have been worse for speculation to explode.

A little over a day earlier, a hacking group thought to be associated with (or a group within) the NSA, known as the Equation Group, was itself targeted by hackers, leaking dozens of exploits used to attack various targets and systems. Another group, calling itself the Shadow Brokers, acquired the exploits and began an auction to sell off the tools to the highest bidder.

Given the attention of the breach, some had speculated that the NSA's website was down due to everything from a denial-of-service attack to an "internal review" (which wasn't specified further).

An email to an NSA spokesperson asking for details of the "tech issue" went unanswered.

Editorial standards