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The trolls who cried wolf: Hackers claim responsibility for routine DropBox outage

Hackers from the group "The 1775 Sec" claimed to be behind the DropBox outage on Friday, in an underwhelming attempt to "troll the media" in memory of Aaron Schwartz.

The group posted a message to their Twitter feed over the weekend, in which they claimed to have orchestrated a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against the free cloud storage platform.

RSS, Creative Commons and Reddit developer Aaron Schwartz killed himself in January 2013 after a length punitive sentence was sought by prosecutors over an allegedly downloading millions of academic articles from the online archive JSTOR. "We are literally choking on laughter!" the group claimed. "We DDoS attacked #DropBox. Claiming its a data breach! This is so ducking funny?"

However, the outage was apparently a result of a "routine server upgrade" undertaken by DropBox. The company claims that MySQL database infrastructure, erroneously reinstalled active machines and brought the website down.

After data that the group posted to PasteBin was demonstrated by researchers to be fake, the group gleefully pronounced their trickery complete.

"Did anyone bother to do some research," the posted. "lol. We made the Internet Reporters look like fools! That is what we did in your honor Aaron Swartz."

The announcement has met a mixed response online.

However, DropBox quickly dismissed rumours of a hack.

"Unfortunately, a bug installed this upgrade on several active servers, which brought down the entire service. Your files were always safe, and despite some reports, no hacking or DDOS attack was involved," said Dropbox's vice president of Engineering Aditya Agarwal in a blog on Sunday.

"We pride ourselves on reliability," Agarwal went on, "and any downtime is unacceptable. In response, we're currently building more tools and checks to make sure this doesn't happen again. "

At the time of writing, the 1775 Sec are claiming to have breached Apple's sensitive data, and are threatening to release it to the Internet tomorrow, on 14 January.

The group is insisting "Yeah we are actually not Joking this time."

However, Apple is not paying all that much attention, and neither are many Twitter users.