It’s no longer news that the Nairaland is down. It’s been down now for 2 whole days. The question is, why is it still down? There are a number of possibilities.

Domain or Hosting expired?

This is highly unlikely. Running a quick WHOIS check on Nairaland reveals they still have till August 2015 before they have to renew.

DNS Attack?

Also not likely. If this where a DNS attack, visitors would be redirected to an undesirable address, possibly a fake Nairaland where their data would be stolen. But no one is getting redirected anywhere and even if they were, it would be easy to spot a fake just by observing the url in the web address bar.

DDOS Attack?

It’s easiest to conclude that Nairaland is experiencing Distributed-Denial-Of-Service attack. However, judging by one of Seun Osewa’s related tweets, this is not likely either.

A DDOS attack will never tamper with site data. The idea behind a DDOS attack is to temporarily shut down a site by overloading the servers with more page requests than it can handle

The above can be safely ruled out. However the following explanations could be closer to the mark.

Failed site move?

It’s possible this was a site move gone bad. For a site like Nairaland on such high demand, moving servers is often very tricky and the slightest of blunders could prove catastrophic. However, if they were any errors, they should have been fixed by now and  it should not take as long as 2 days for the changes to propagate.

As at this morning, CloudFlare (Content Delivery Network on which Nairaland’s pages are hosted) was still serving cached versions of the Nairaland frontpage. However, all further links were dead, pointing at a possible loss of data….

It’s most likely a Malware Attack

Nairaland’s founder, Seun Osewa has been unresponsive to inquiry, and his only public reaction to the situation have been a series of cryptic tweets. Taken together, they seem to point to the fact that user data might have been stolen.

The situation, it seems, is very dire. Nairaland has never experienced anything like this since it launched almost 10 years ago in 2005.

Strangely, save for the site’s most ardent users, the rest of ecosystem appears to be maintaining a studied apathy to the travails of Nairaland, arguably one of the pillars of the Nigerian internet.

In 2013, many Nigerian content websites experienced cyber attacks. had it’s original domain jacked, and has been unable to recover it since. In January 2014, Premium Times, a Nigerian online news website suffered a protracted denial of service attack.

Seun’s latest tweet directly acknowledging the situation for the first time announces that they are concentrating on bringing Nairaland back, hopefully before the end of the week.

More to come.

Photo Credit: elhombredenegro via Compfight cc

Muyiwa Matuluko Author

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