Popular RSS Reader Feedly Taken Down by Attackers Requesting Ransom

9:53 AM PST 06/11/2014 by Hilary Lewis

UPDATED: The service was back up and running by 4 p.m. PT after more than 12 hours of users not being able to access.

Popular RSS reader Feedly was down for more than 12 hours on Wednesday after the site was attacked by criminals trying to extort money from the service.

In a blog post shortly after 2 a.m. PT, Feedly CEO Edwin Khodabakchian wrote, "Criminals are attacking feedly with a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS). The attacker is trying to extort us money [sic] to make it stop. We refused to give in and are working with our network providers to mitigate the attack as best as we can. We are working in parallel with other victims of the same group and with law enforcement."

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Khodabakchian apologized and reassured users that their data is safe and they will be able to re-access Feedly "as soon as the attack is neutralized."

Later Wednesday morning, though, it seemed like that might take a while.

"We're making some changes to our infrastructure that will allow us to bring feedly back online," Khodabakchian wrote in a blog post at 6:25 a.m. PT. "However, these things take some time to put into place and it may still be a few more hours before service is restored. Thank you so much for your patience and for sticking with us. Remember, none of your data was compromised or lost in this attack."

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As of 9:30 a.m. PT, Feedly's website and cloud service, which provides users access to their feeds online, were still down. The Feedly website and cloud service were both back up by 4 p.m. PT and another blog update from Khodabakchian, posted at 3:07 p.m. PT confirmed the same, saying that Feedly had "neutralized" the attack and users should be able to access their feeds from feedly.com, mobile apps and third-party applications.

"Our ops team is closely monitoring the situation in case the attacks resume," Khodabakchian added. "It might take a few hours for some of the 40 million feeds we poll to be fully updated. We would like to re-iterate that none of your data was compromised by this attack. I would like to thank the ops team for working through the night to resume the service as quickly as possible. I would also like to thank the community for your amazing support!"

The Bay Area-based service saw a surge in popularity after Google announced it was shutting down its popular RSS reader, Google Reader. More than 500,000 Google Reader users joined Feedly over a 48-hour period last March, in the wake of Google's announcement.

The Verge noted that such extortion attempts are "far from uncommon" yet usually kept confidential.

For instance, Meetup was taken down by the same type of attack earlier this year and asked to fork over $300 to make it stop.

Evernote was also down last night from a DDoS attack, the service noted on Twitter, but it's unclear if the two attacks are related.

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