The Own archive– the largest digital library for fan fiction currently in operation, and one of the The most visited websites in the world – was temporarily unavailable after being subjected to a large-scale distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack by a hacking group called Anonymous Sudan. Ao3 reported the failure in the early morning of July 10 and had resumed service by July 11 around noon EST.
While Anonymous Sudan masquerades as a religious hacktivist group, it’s far more likely that the people behind the digital hacking group are an offshoot of that group Killnet groupwhich, according to Trustwave, a cybersecurity subsidiary of Singtel, is believed to be backed by the Kremlin. Anonymous Sudan Recently, attacks have also targeted Microsoft Outlook, UPS, and Scandinavian Airlines, causing major problems for all services, at least temporarily. If you thought it would have easier odds with a site like AO3, run mostly by volunteers, you might have been wrong.
Anonymous Sudan eventually claimed responsibility for the DDoS attack and demanded a ransom of $30,000 in bitcoin telegram book page. It was stated that the attack on AO3 would continue for “weeks”, however the attack was resolved fairly quickly.
Despite a few hours, the site was back up and running at near-normal speed within a day. However, during this time, several fans of the site and fic writers shared what they had to do to survive without their “bedtime stories.” People have been sharing old internet screenshots or hand-coded HTML fansites collecting work (which usually either focuses on an individual’s findings or on a specific fandom or ship). A lot of emphasis was placed on “reverting” to various fanfic sites such as Wattpad or Fanfic.net. Lucky for everyone, AO3 is back!
While the main page has been restored, the donation pages for the Organization of Transformative Works, the non-profit organization that supports AO3, are no longer available. Anonymous Sudan continues to take responsibility for telegram, and says this is part of the next phase of his “attack” on AO3, which is said to be based on moral objections to the content hosted on the site – but is most likely just an excuse to extort money from a donation-based site . The whole process is regularly updated by the archive, which is run with the support of volunteers.
io9 has reached out to the OTW for comment. We’ll update this story when we get an answer.
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