Twitter's unplanned downtime and the importance of monitoring website content

As you must have known by now, Twitter was recently hacked and defaced by a group claiming to be the Iranian Cyber Army. The hackers managed to compromise Twitter's DNS records and left a defacement message on the website. Both and were down and some users faced a temporary problem with sending tweets. There has been extensive coverage of this downtime in various tech blogs such as Techcrunch.

The Twitter status page provides the latest updates on this incident:

 We are working to recovery from an unplanned downtime and will update more as we learn the cause of this outage.

Update (11:28p): Twitter’s DNS records were temporarily compromised but have now been fixed. We are looking into the underlying cause and will update with more information soon

This hacking, although lasting only for a short duration of time, did manage to garner attention.

Now if this can happen to the best of services, it can happen to your site as well. In most cases, hackers have political intentions and they leave politically motivated messages on the site as in the recent Twitter example, or alter the content of the site. If your website encounters such a problem, you can set up website content monitoring to be aware of the problem before it affects your website visitors/customers.

On some occasions, hackers manage to gain access to your DNS records and make them point to alternate sites. If you are monitoring DNS records, you can instantly become aware of this problem and rectify it quickly.

For webmasters and website owners, it does make sense to follow the relevant security guidelines and best practices to keep the hackers at bay. Even then, hackers do manage to break through even the toughest security controls and gain access. The least a webmaster can do is to use a good website monitoring service such as Site24x7 (shameless plug) to continuously monitor websites for any defacement!

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