By Zoe Moleshead
Microsoft was hit by a denial-of-service attack on Thursday, causing traffic to the company's major Web sites to slow to a crawl.
Microsoft's connection to the Internet was hit by further problems on Thursday, causing traffic to the company's major Web sites to slow to a crawl. Microsoft was hit by a denial-of-service attack, but emphasised this was unrelated to the technical glitch that crippled its sites late Tuesday and most of Wednesday. A denial-of-service attack overloads a site's servers with a flood of data, effectively blocking surfers from accessing the site. In this case, the attack was aimed not at the servers, but at the hardware switches that route data to the Web sites, Microsoft said. "During the morning of Jan. 25, Microsoft was the target of a denial-of-service attack against the routers that direct traffic to the company's Web sites," Microsoft said in a statement late Thursday afternoon, adding that the sites were now fully functional again, and that they had asked the FBI to investigate.According to networking consultancy Keynote Systems, at the height of the attack, as little as 2 percent of the requests for Microsoft Web pages were being completed. Normally, sites are able to fulfill 97 percent of all page requests, said Keynote representatives. Eric Siegel, Internet consultant at Keynote, explained that Tuesday and Wednesday’s problems may have encouraged the attackers by highlighting a weakness in Microsoft’s network design.