Dropbox goes down for 48 hours but denies it was hacked

13 Jan 2014

Online cloud storage company Dropbox denied it was hacked as the site went down for 48 hours.

The company has told its users in an announcement it is now almost back to full operational status.

The service, which more than 200m people across the world use, is now back online for 99pc of its users, according to the release, but while the photos tab is still turned off, users can still access photos via the files tab on dropbox.com or the desktop client.

However, about 5pc of Dropbox’s users are still experiencing problems syncing from the desktop client and about 20pc of users are having issues accessing Dropbox through their mobile apps.

Claiming responsibility

When the site went down on Friday, a group of hackers known as The 1775 Sec, who are an affiliate of Anonymous, announced: “BREAKING NEWS: We have just compromised @Dropbox website Dropbox.com #hacked #compromised”.

A follow-up tweet then threatened to leak user data if the website’s vulnerabilities were not addressed: “@Dropbox We are giving you time to fix your websites vulnerability. If it’s not fixed expect a Database leak!”

The company, however, has completely denied there were any vulnerability issues in its post-mortem report on the shutdown: “On Friday at 5:30 PM PT, we had a planned maintenance scheduled to upgrade the OS on some of our machines. During this process, the upgrade script checks to make sure there is no active data on the machine before installing the new OS.

“A subtle bug in the script caused the command to reinstall a small number of active machines. Unfortunately, some master-slave pairs were impacted which resulted in the site going down.”

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic