NYTimes.com went dark for the second time in a month on Tuesday, 28/August afternoon, but that doesn’t mean the newspaper will stop publishing. Bypassing the DNS, The Times is continuing to publish stories under its bare IP address. And the reporters are continuing to write.
Aside from being fast and smart, the Times’s work around is relatively simple. The internet as we know it relies on the Domain Name System (DNS) to direct us to the location of websites that are actually located at a numerical IP address. NYTimes.com, for instance, simply points you to servers located at 126.96.36.199. So when hackers manage to hijack a domain—which is apparently what happened with this latest Times hack—the IP address and everything on the servers that it points to remains intact. (Pro Tip: If NYTimes.com isn’t working for you, you can just type in the IP address and access the entire site.)
So what about that hack? It appears that the Syrian Electronic Army got ahold of The New York Times‘s domain and rerouted it to one of its own sites. A Times spokesperson said soon after the outage that the trouble was “likely result of malicious external attack.” However, malice can’t trump quick thinking.
Update: As service remains intermittent, the Syrian Electronic Army allegation is starting to look more likely. Some users reported seeing this graphic when trying to visit The Times‘s website: