Voat, the community news board that increasingly looks like a demented version of Reddit, appears to have been hacked. The site announced early Monday morning it was targeted in a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, which occurs when hackers knock a website or app offline by overwhelming it with web traffic from unwitting computers. Third-party apps, which were primarily affected, first went down Sunday evening.
“It definitely looks like you are under a Layer 7 attack,” a support engineer from the domain hosting company CloudFare told Voat, according to a post. The engineer referenced IUAM blocking, a CloudFare security setting which stands for “I'm Under Attack Mode."
“Based on this, I can see at least 1,962,179 requests that were blocked by IUAM in the past 24 hours. It would appear that these requests are coming from a botnet, though I cannot say for certain, all of which are using legitimate user agents,” said the engineer.
DDoS attacks are frequently used by hackers – Anonymous loves them – to take down websites that are in the headlines at that time. Voat is no exception. Awareness of the Swiss website exploded in the days after a Reddit revolt temporarily shut down much of the discussion website, which is among the most popular online destinations in the U.S.
Like Reddit's bulletin board system, the site is essentially made up of a collection of posts from registered users. Unlike Reddit, though, Voat is open to public shaming, racist remarks and other content not allowed on Reddit.
Hackers had yet to claim responsibility for the Voat DDoS ten hours after its services were knocked offline.