A Dark Night For Dropbox
San Francisco-based file sharing and cloud storage company Dropbox (www.dropbox.com) suffered a major failure on Friday, January 10, 2014, during which many of its subscribers found it difficult or impossible to access their files over the evening as well as much of Saturday. The company’s homepage presented their version of a Fail Whale, a large band-aid which described the outage as a “500 Error.”
Subscribers quickly turned to Twitter both to seek answers and in some cases express outrage, while others leaped to the company’s defense, citing the many years of highly reliable service that have made Dropbox, as well as the concept of cloud storage in general, something that is now taken almost for granted.
In its official explanation, Dropbox was emphatic that the outage was caused during what it called “routine internal maintenance,” and not, as some had believed, by external hackers.
The hacking rumor was based on announcement made on Twitter by a group who claimed affiliation with Anonymous, and who stated the attack was performed to acknowledge the anniversary of the death of Aaron Swartz, a programmer who took his own life on January 11, 2013 after having been accused of stealing documents from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Dropbox, which, by its own PR materials, claims 200 million users and 4 million business users, explained the hacking rumors as a hoax.<
As of Sunday morning, January 12, the service had returned to full operation.
By Steve Prentice