The popular Internet portal Yahoo Inc. (NasdaqNM:YHOO - news) suffered a three-hour outage on Monday after a series of attacks were directed at its computers, blocking millions of people from entering the site to access news and other services.
The crash was the worst in Yahoo's history and stunned many online customers for the way it challenged the increasingly popular notion of the Internet as a reliable system for the exchange of vital information.
Although other popular Internet services like America Online Inc. (NYSE:AOL - news) and eBay Inc. (NasdaqNM:EBAY - news) had similar, or worse outages as they embarked on a course of rapid growth, their problems were related to internal infrastructure rather than sabotage.
The fact that Monday's attack was directed at Yahoo, one of the most visited and most reliable sites on the Internet, raised new questions about the vulnerabilities of all Web sites.
A spokeswoman for Yahoo said that the outage, which began around 1015 PST on Monday, was caused by what appeared to be a planned attack from someone bombarding its servers with fake messages. The effect, she said, was to jam the servers and prevent real users from accessing requested information.