The Mail & Guardian Online has been forced to shut its website down after it was targeted by Russian-based hackers.
Nic Dawes, Mail & Guardian editor tweeted “The M&G website is under sustained attack by hackers. We’ve taken it offline to protect the security of users. Many apologies.”
Online editor Chris Roper told The New Age around noon on Wednesday that the site, which had been shut down for an about an hour, would only be online again within at least 36 hours.
“I am very depressed. We’ve made the conscious decision to take our website down… because we are being compromised by Russian hackers,” he said adding that the hackers had left their signature and were using a Russian server.
“We are in crisis management to get the site up. We’ve been combating them for a week or so but we got to the point now where we don’t want to compromise our users.”
He said the hackers had been conducting phishing attacks on the site and the worry was that someone would “risk falling for it”.
Alistair Fairweather, digital platforms manager said that the attack is purely a commercial one and not a political attack at all.
To compound the online team’s woes, Roper said a developer who was trying to rebuild the site on a new server had to be rushed to the doctor earlier on Wednesday.
“One of my developers is allergic to bees and he was stung so I had to take him to the doctor so we’re being attacked by Russian bees as well.”
At this stage it is not known how long the site will be down for.