Updated. Ustream has been unavailable this morning, and Bambuser has been under a heavy load of unusual traffic due to what looks like a distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attack against both live streaming providers. Ustream issued the following statement via Twitter:
“News Alert: #Ustream is inaccessible due to a large scale DDOS attack targeting Russian opposition channels on Ustream.”
The company wasn’t immediately available for additional details. Ustream said via Twitter that it was able to restore services around 6:30am PT, but at the time of writing, some parts remain unavailable.
A Bambuser spokesperson told us via email that the attack against its site started in the early morning hours, adding:
“What we can see is that we are receiving a lot of unusual traffic with lots of small distributed requests which is different to what we normally see. It’s extremely hard to know who is behind a distributed attack like this, nor do we want to speculate about it at this point.”
It looks like Livestream and Justin.tv weren’t affected by the attack. DDOS attacks are regularly used to suppress opposing views and critical citizen journalism, but these attacks tend to be directed against smaller blogs or dedicated opposition websites. Bambuser told us that this marks the first time its site has been victim of a DDOS attack.
This is a developing story, check back for updates.
Update (7:57am PT): We just received the following status update from Bambuser: “We are up since an hour -after being down for almost 4hrs. It’s still heavy load of traffic (requests) but our tech team managed to block parts of it and minimize the effect of the DDOS attack. ”
Update 2 (9:55am PT): Ustream sent us a more detailed account of the attack, which seems to be ongoing. It apparently started at 5:30am PT and specifically targeted a Russian channel. Most requests originated from Russia, Kazakhstan, and Iran, coming from thousands of individual IP addresses. Ustream CEO Brad Hunstable added: “This is the third DDOS attack in the last few months, specifically targeting Russian citizen journalists on Ustream. This is a actively managed attack of a scale we have never seen that continues to change and iterate as we counter.”
Update 3 (10:57am PT): : Ustream told us that its services are “almost back to 100 percent.”
Update 4 (5:20pm): Ustream has launched its Russian localization ahead of schedule in response to the attack, a spokesperson told us via email: “In light of today’s DDOS attack on Ustream and citizen journalists covering the Russian protests, Ustream has accelerated the development and launch of the Russian language translation and localization feature to help translate the site and empower the voices of those being muted.”
Disclosure: GigaOM has a business relationship with Livestream for delivering its conference content.