GitHub, a frequent target of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, experienced a major outage early Tuesday morning, Eastern Time; however, the software development hosting service tweeted shortly thereafter that it identified the problem and that its online operations were running normally again.

As of press time, it is not publicly known if the outage stemmed from an internal error or from the latest in a series of external cyberattacks against the service. GitHub's site performance was noticeably impacted just this past Mar. 23 following a DDoS assault against the website.

Asked for an update and an explanation of the underlying issue, a member of GitHub's communications department directed to its online status page, which showed that from around 4:30 a.m. to 6 a.m. ET, app server availability practically plummeted to zero percent, while response times spiked.

Travis Smith, senior security research engineer at cybersecurity software firm Tripwire, said in a statement emailed to “While a drop in service such as this may be attributed to an operational malfunction internally at GitHub, it can't be ruled out that this was a targeted attack” against not just GitHub, but also “any number of their customers who leverage GitHub's service in production environments.”

GitHub experienced an especially severe DDoS attack in March 2015 — an attack that many researchers have attributed to state-sponsored Chinese hackers.