Zombie Apocalypse hits Meetup.com

Meetup.com Latest Casualty to DDoS attack


On February 27, 2014 Meetup.com the online social networking platform facilitating offline groups around the world, suffered an epic hack. The problem was discovered as a result from a Tweet at 7:50 am. Four hours later, the crew of Meetup announced the platform was down due to a DDoS attack.


Distrubted Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks occur when a large number of compromised systems attack a single target. The servers shut down because of the flood of incoming messages.  DDoS attacks are an increasing nuisance to large platforms like Bitly, the domain name seller Namecheap, HowStuffWorks and WordPress.com. The motives for these attacks are varied. Frequently no one knows why these attacks occur.


The computers under the control of the the DDoS intruders are known as a zombie or bot. A group of these hijacked computers is known as a botnet or a zombie army. These mindless machines overwhelm the server, crashing, causing intermittent failures. Down sites result in headaches and many apologetic blogs, tweets and posts for CEO’s of targeted firms.


“Monitoring your social media presence as a company has real value. End users are faster and more responsive than any software monitoring system. The “canary in the mine” for this attack was a tweeter. Wikipedia’s Meetup page has a post referring to this event as the “Great Outage of 2014” as of 2 pm PST. The same day as the attack. Preserving your brand by listening to your customers is just good business. If it weren’t for the Twitter user alerting the support staff, the problem may have gone unnoticed for much longer,” says Stevie Howe, Senior Developer for Howe Innovative Design.


Meetup was born of a massive coordinated attack. Following the events September 11, 2001, Scott Heiferman, Meetup’s site co-founder was inspired by how New Yorkers came together, connecting with strangers to process the trauma of this event. Meetup Inc. was born in New York City to promote strangers connecting. According to Wikipedia, Meetup has 13.4 million members in 196 countries as of April 2013.


There is no word on when the sites will be up again. Real time status is available on Meetup’s Twitter feed: https://twitter.com/Meetup.