Users of HootSuite may have noticed service problems yesterday morning.
The problems were the result of a malicious attack by hackers, the company CEO Ryan Holmes says. But he assured users of the site’s free and premium services in an email Thursday that no customer data had been compromised.
“I’m writing today to let you know that the HootSuite Engineering and Security teams are working to mitigate the DOS attack and that there are no inherent security risks to your accounts, nor has any customer data been compromised.”
Holmes says the service interruption was the result of a denial of service (DOS) attack. The HootSuite attack occurred at about 9:45 a.m. EST on Thursday. On HootSource, the official HootSuite company blog, Holmes describes DOS attacks as “common, crude tactics used by hackers to temporarily disable websites.” Hackers apparently tried to flood HootSuite servers with requests until it shut down the company’s system, he further explains in his email to users.
HootSuite sent out this Tweet just before 1 p.m. on Thursday:
We’re mitigating a possible attack on our servers. Some site functionality down. Working to restore our site asap: http://t.co/O5jIOWIJRM
— HootSuite (@hootsuite) March 20, 2014
On HootSource, Holmes explained:
“While HootSuite users were for a short time unable to access the dashboard, service has now been restored, and no customer data was compromised. Only Web traffic to the dashboard and mobile APIs was affected.”
Also, if you had already scheduled posts ahead of time, the attack did not impact them. Holmes said the company is working to learn the source of the attack in order to block re-occurrences.
HootSuite is one of the best known social media manager tools available. It allows you to manage and view your numerous social media feeds all from a single, Web-based dashboard. The service allows you to schedule messages to be sent to your different feeds at the same time. It even works with RSS feeds from your company Website or blog. So when the website is updated, new messages are automatically sent to your social media pages.
As much as this is, well, not the kind of news you want to hear, I’m not surprised by it. It’s something that unfortunately happens.
I don’t have a HootSuite account so wasn’t affected.