DDoS attack that downed BBC website and iPlayer was work of anti-IS activists

Both the BBC website and iPlayer were taken out of action

You might recall that towards the end of last week, the BBC's websites and iPlayer service were hit by a major volley of DDoS fire – well, a culprit has now emerged, and apparently this was the work of an anti-Islamic State (IS) organisation.

The attack happened on the morning of New Year's Eve and witnessed a substantial outage, with visitors to the Beeb's site (ourselves included) receiving an 'Error 500 - Internal Error' from 7:00 onwards throughout the morning.

The BBC Press Office first announced that this was a technical problem, but then it emerged that it was a malicious Distributed Denial of Service attack.

The anti-IS organisation allegedly responsible goes by the name of New World Hacking, and told the BBC that last Thursday's disruption was merely a test run, claiming "we didn't exactly plan to take it down for multiple hours. Our servers are quite strong."

Apparently New World Hacking is a team of 12 hacktivists formed back in 2012 who have previously engaged in an online campaign against the Ku Klux Klan, and the #OpParis 'cyberwar operation' against IS.

And the actual reason the BBC was targeted? Simply because New World Hacking felt that they wanted to see what sort of "actual server power" they had at their disposal – and that power would seem to be quite considerable.

While the Beeb claimed that by 10:30 its main site was working normally again for the most part, we certainly hit an Error 500 at close to 11:00, and even after midday when the press office officially tweeted that everything was back to normal, some folks on Twitter were complaining about iPlayer continuing to suffer issues.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).