Anonymous DDoS attack snowballs, affects several Microsoft services

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Hacktivist collective Anonymous has taken credit for an attack that unintentionally affected a number of Microsoft services last week.

On Monday, members of the loose-knit hacker group posted on Pastebin about how a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack targeting Japanese Microsoft websites and servers had gone awry – resulting in several of the technology giant's services going down.

“A couple days ago a DDoS attack was launched at Japanese Microsoft (Domain) Websites and Servers,” according to the Anonymous post. “We are sorry to report that the Japanese Microsoft Websites and Servers did not go down as planned. Although something did go down. We took the pretty much the entire Microsoft domains down.”

It appears the hackers had a motive.

“The DDoS attack was launched in response to Taiji...Operation Killing Bay OR #OpKillingBay,” according to the post. Operation Killing Bay is an initiative protesting the slaughter of dolphins in the village of Taiji in Japan – a controversial topic that has gained a lot of coverage in recent years.

“It's the thought that counts right?” the hacktivists wrote, insinuating that they would strike against Taiji again.

The claim explains why several people were reporting outages and disruptions of Microsoft services, including microsoft.com, outlook.com, msn.com, office365.com, Microsoft Developer Network, TechNet, SkyDrive, the Windows Store, sites hosted on Windows Azure, xbox.com and Xbox Live.

Most of Microsoft's affected services were restored quickly.

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