Twitter has been the victim of a virulent denial of service attack otherwise known as DDoS since early Thursday afternoon (UK time) according to Biz Stone, the co-founder of the popular microblogging website.
The coordinated attack forced the site's system administrators to take it down several times and service resumed gradually. At the time of writing, Twitter appears to be working correctly although the last status update - 6 hours ago - said that "We are defending against a denial-of-service attack, and will update status again shortly".
In a more recent post on Twitter's Blog, Biz Stone revealed that the attack was being mitigated rather than eliminated and that the DDoS "appears to be a single, massively coordinated attack". Like in most other DDoS saturation, no user data would have been compromised except it there was a simultaneous attack on Twitter's database.
Twitter's Pingdom update says that the site has been down for 2hr 50minute today - that's nearly 20 percent downtime - with an average response time of nearly two seconds; which means that it has been very slow to load.
The failure of Twitter had a knock on effect on the whole Twitter ecosystem and reminded people of how fragile the site is overall. Systems like Cotweet or Bitly have been significantly affected by the DDoS as well as the downtime also prevented them from working.