On Thursday April 17th, criminals started a series of DDoS (distributed denial-of-service) attacks on Typepad, the company that hosts iPhone J.D. (and tons of other websites). These attacks typically involve bad guys getting countless computers around the world to simultaneously and repeatedly target a server with reqeusts, so much so that the server can no longer respond to legitimate traffic, which often causes the server to shut down from overload. Sometimes the criminals just want to be destructive. Other times they demand a ransom, and if it is paid they typically then demand an even higher ransom. While it is possible to mount defenses against the attacks, the attackers will often respond by changing their tactics, starting the whole cycle over again.
As a result of the DDoS attack on Typepad, iPhone J.D. has been up and down ... mostly down ... for over five days. Before this incident, Typepad had an excellent track record (the company has been around since 2003). I can't remember any time that iPhone J.D. was down for more than a few hours since I launched the site in November of 2008. Even so, it was frustrating for me and the many other folks who use Typepad to see that anyone who came to our websites simply saw the bizarre message "unknown domain: www.iphonejd.com."
Sarah Perez of TechCrunch wrote an interesting article about this attack and how the criminals attempted to get Typepad to pay a ransom. Typepad has been working with the FBI in responding to the attacks.
iPhone J.D. came back online around 9:00 p.m. Central last night. I have no idea whether Typepad has effectively countered the attacks or if iPhone J.D. will go down again, but hopefully the worst is behind us.
If there is a silver lining to all of this, the attacks serve as a reminder that there are bad guys out there on the Internet, so it is prudent to take steps to protect yourself. Use passcodes on your iPhone and iPad. Use complex, different passwords on the sites that you visit and consider using a password manager like 1Password to make it easier to do so. (By the way, 1Password received a major upgrade yesterday and is half-price the rest of this week.) And take reasonable precautions to preserve the confidentiality of attorney-client communications and work product.
Thanks for your patience, and if it looks like everything is working correctly again, regular posts on iPhone J.D. will resume tomorrow. Fingers crossed.