- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Drudge Report and the conservative news site WND.com were both down early Tuesday morning for at least two hours — a curious coincidence that came amid the FBI’s warning of a widespread malicious software attack that began with a security breach at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The Blaze reported both websites were off-site for hours and gave visitors the message: “This webpage is not available.” It’s not clear if the website difficulties at Drudge and WND.com were tied to the cyberattack, or if their host was simply experiencing an outage.

But the timing is suspicious.

The FBI had just sent a warning to businesses in the United States that hackers were using malicious software to infiltrate various websites — and that this follows a massive hit at Sony Pictures Entertainment last week that exposed the personal information of several Hollywood bigwigs.

The FBI didn’t say how many companies had been involved in the attacks.

“I believe the coordinated cyberattack with destructive payloads against a corporation in the U.S. represents a watershed event,” said Tom Kellermann, chief cybersecurity officer with security software maker Trend Micro Inc., the New York Post reported. “Geopolitics now serve as harbingers for destructive cyberattacks.”

The FBI put out its warning to businesses late Monday via a five-page “flash” memo, the New York Post said. The warning gave directions to counter the malware and also asked victims to alert the FBI to the software.

A week ago, Sony suffered what industry analysts describe as an unprecedented cyberattack that crippled corporate email for a week, and damaged other computer files and systems in the firm. Sony said in a statement that the firm had “restored a number of important services” but was still “working closely with law enforcement officials to investigate the matter,” the New York Post said.

Both Drudge and WND.com were back up and operating normally early Tuesday morning.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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