Home Internet Archive and the Wayback Machine under DDoS cyber-attack

Internet Archive and the Wayback Machine under DDoS cyber-attack


  • Internet Archive battles third day of DDoS attack, disrupting global service.
  • Despite attacks, collections remain safe, but access to Wayback Machine affected.
  • Attacks highlight increasing cyber threats against libraries; Internet Archive also faces lawsuits.

The Internet Archive is heading into its third day of fending off a DDos attack, affecting service for users around the world.

As a nonprofit research library that’s home to millions of historical documents, including the entire history of Aruba, the Internet Archive offers free access to collections of digital materials. For the last three days, it’s been hit by intermittent DDoSing (distributed denial-of-service attack). This is a form of cyber attack that has affected service throughout the week.

According to library staff, the collections within the Internet Archive are safe, although service remains inconsistent, affecting whether or not people can access the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, which has preserved more than 866 billion webpages.

Internet Archive responds to DDoS attack

The attacks began on Sunday, with the DDoS intruders launching thousands of fake information requests a second. This overloaded the service and caused the ongoing issues. At the time of writing, the source or identity of the attackers are unknown.

“Thankfully the collections are safe, but we are sorry that the denial-of-service attack has knocked us offline intermittently during these last three days,” explained Brewster Kahle, founder and digital librarian of the Internet Archive.

“With the support from others and the hard work of staff we are hardening our defenses to provide more reliable access to our library. What is new is this attack has been sustained, impactful, targeted, adaptive, and importantly, mean.”

This DDoS attack is not isolated, with cyber-attacks becoming more and more frequent against libraries and other information-based institutions. Other recent victims include the British Library, the Solano County (California) Public Library, the Berlin Natural History Museum, and Ontario’s London Public Library (in Canada).

This attack comes after the Internet Archive was also recently sued by the U.S. book publishing and recording industries associations, with organizations claiming copyright infringement and demanding combined damages worth hundreds of millions of dollars from all libraries.

“If our patrons around the globe think this latest situation is upsetting, then they should be very worried about what the publishing and recording industries have in mind,” added Kahle. “I think they are trying to destroy this library entirely and hobble all libraries everywhere. But just as we’re resisting the DDoS attack, we appreciate all the support in pushing back on this unjust litigation against our library and others.”

Featured image: Ideogram

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Rachael Davies
Tech Journalist

Rachael Davies has spent six years reporting on tech and entertainment, writing for publications like the Evening Standard, Huffington Post, Dazed, and more. From niche topics like the latest gaming mods to consumer-faced guides on the latest tech, she puts her MA in Convergent Journalism to work, following avenues guided by a variety of interests. As well as writing, she also has experience in editing as the UK Editor of The Mary Sue , as well as speaking on the important of SEO in journalism at the Student Press Association National Conference. You can find her full portfolio over on…

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