- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 1, 2016

Newsweek said its website was knocked offline by hackers Thursday evening after it published an article accusing one of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s companies of having violated the U.S. embargo against Cuba.

Editor-in-chief Jim Impoco told reporters Friday that Newsweek’s website was unavailable for several hours the night before as the result of what the magazine’s IT chief described as a “massive” distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack – a rudimentary but potentially ravaging type of cyberattack that aims to render websites unavailable by overloading their servers with illegitimate internet traffic.

“We don’t know everything. We’re still investigating. But it was a massive DDoS attack, and it took place in the early evening just as prominent cable news programs were discussing Kurt Eichenwald’s explosive investigation into how Donald Trump’s company broke the law by breaking the United States embargo against Cuba,” Mr. Impoco said in a statement.

That investigation, titled “How Donald Trump’s Company Violated the United States Embargo Against Cuba,” said that internal company records, court filings and interviews showed that Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts went behind the U.S. government in an effort to illegally conduct business in the communist country nearly 20 years ago.

“I think they paid money, as I understand from the story, they paid money in 1998,” Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, acknowledged during a Friday morning interview on “The View” after the story’s publication.

In the interim, however, the apparent DDoS attack made Newsweek’s scoop inaccessible for several hours.

“Someone must have objected to our sports coverage,” the magazine’s editor quipped on Twitter.

“Thanks for giving it more publicity,” Mr. Eichenwald, the author of the Trump article, said in a tweet of his own Friday directed at the hackers responsible for waging the attack.

Newsweek said it has traced “lots of IP addresses” to the DDoS attack, and Mr. Eichenwald claimed the “main ones” were connected to the Russian internet when the assault was waged. His editor admitted that the evidence doesn’t necessarily implicate Russia in the attack, however, and said the incident is still under investigation.

While debilitating cyberattacks attacks can be manually waged from a hacker’s own computer, successful DDoS assaults are often carried out by using a network of infected machines to magnify the impact. A massive DDoS attack that caused the personal blog of security reporter Brian Krebs to go offline for several days last month was likely accomplished by flooding his website with traffic sent from more than a million security cameras and other internet-connected devices that had been compromised by hackers, according to security experts.



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