Cyberattack takes out BBC websites for hours

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The BBC’s websites went down early Thursday morning because of a widespread cyberattack, the broadcasting service reported.

The British news organization said hackers had hit the sites with a so-called distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, which overwhelms and crashes Web pages with a flood of fake traffic.

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By 5:30 a.m. in the U.S., the BBC’s main site was mostly available again. The media company has not yet officially confirmed that a cyberattack was the reason for the technical problems.

Other BBC services, such as an iPlayer video service and the iPlayer Radio app, were also hit by the outages.

The Guardian reported that the corporation’s radio and television broadcasts were unaffected.

If confirmed as a cyberattack, the incident would not be the first time hackers have gone after the BBC.

In 2012, the BBC said it suspected Iranian hackers were behind a “sustained” cyberattack that took out the phone lines and email access for the company’s Farsi-language service in London.

The New York Times and Reuters have also had services taken out by hackers in recent years. The Times attack was linked to Chinese hackers.