The BBC's website crashed after being targeted by hackers

Weight lifter fails screaming unhappy fail collapse badDoug Pensinger/Getty ImagesThe BBC website collapsed under the strain of the attack.

The BBC’s websites were unavailable for part of Thursday morning — and BBC journalists say it was due to an attack by hackers.

The British broadcasting company was apparently subjected to a DDoS (“Dedicated Denial of Service”) attack. This involves flooding a website or server with malicious traffic, crashing it under the load.

With access to the right tools, it’s a fairly simple attack to carry out, and requires little technical expertise. DDoS “stresser” tools are even available online that anyone can use for a fee.

Thursday’s DDoS attack took down the BBC homepage and its on-demand streaming service iPlayer, The Guardian reported. The outage occured between 7AM and 10.30AM, according to the BBC.

The BBC is reporting that the downtime was the result of the “large web attack” — although it bizarrely also says the “BBC has yet to confirm or deny that such an attack was responsible for the problems.”

On Twitter, BBC technology journalist Rory Cellan-Jones has also blamed a DDoS attack, citing unnamed “sources.”

The BBC had previously blamed the outage on a “technical issue.”

It’s not yet clear who the culprit is.

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