A short time ago Twitter went offline following reports that the site had been hacked by a group posting under the name Iranian Cyber Army. If you're quick you can head over to Google and get a cached copy of the page minus the graphics. This screenshot came from Google's cache a short time ago.
This may be one of the first times such a high-profile hacking incident was caught, nearly in real time, by Googlebot.
How will Twitter's being hacked affect the future?
Everywhere you turn these days the conversation seems to include Twitter. Try to spend an evening outside of total isolation and not hear about Twitter at least once. Quietly and quickly Twitter has become a key piece of the hub of the social publishing web. A few folks like Dave Winer have been talking about the need for open standards around technologies like Twitter. This outage should serve as a wake-up call for technologists everywhere. While the downtime has only been a few minutes the lasting effects are much greater.
Backups and alternatives
I'm going to start on this new project for work. I think I'll spend a year compiling all the information and setting up the systems and leave it all without backups. Not really of course but if I were to do that people would think it was my own fault when the disk failed and I was left without the work I'd done. "Didn't he know enough to back things up," would be whispered in this corner and that. Yet we're willing to simply blithely send more and more of our data to services with a less than stellar record for stability. This has to stop. Anyone who isn't concerned should look no further than the cellular phone system in New York during the attack on the World Trade Center.
The one thing that is certain: systems fail. What marks how advanced we are is how well prepared we are to absorb the failures in stride. Imagine for a moment if every piece of software that implements the Twitter API added a small change to allow you to use any server you wanted for your hub. This is what Winer's been talking about and he's spot on. Maybe this wake-up call will get a few more folks listening.