On Saturday past, the BBC website went offline, many were quick to assume that the broadcaster was under attack from hackers annoyed that controversial Top Gear TV show presenter might be for the chop following a highly-publicised run in with a member of the production team.
The remaining episodes of this series of Top Gear have been shelved, and there are question marks over the programme’s future. With some 350 million fans around the world (including – it seems – UK Prime Minister David Cameron), it’s understandable that some might be annoyed that it might be the end of the road for the testosterone-fuelled motoring show – but did they really voice their annoyance with a denial-of-service attack?
What we do know is that people operating under the banner of Anonymous had rallied behind the #OpBringBackClarkson hashtag and called for Jeremy Clarkson’s reinstatement. And at least one anonymous poster threatened a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack a few days before the BBC site went down.
The BBC has denied that hackers had anything to do with the downtime. In years gone past its websites have wobbled from huge amounts of traffic (whether legitimate or otherwise) and these days has good systems in place to handle sudden spikes in traffic. You would probably need something more than a TV presenter allegedly getting into a punch-up over his production team’s failure to rustle up a simple steak and chips to rally the world’s hacktivists into creating an attack strong enough to knock the BBC off the internet.
A spokesman for the BBC described the downtime as an internal mess-up.