1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

'Malicious attack' takes German Wikipedia offline

Michaela Cavanagh
September 7, 2019

Users in Germany trying to access Wikipedia were faced with an error message and frustration. The online encyclopedia was paralyzed by a "massive and widespread" DDoS attack.

Wikipedia was paralyzed by a DDoS attack.
Image: Imago/Science Photo Library

Wikipedia users in Germany couldn't find the answers they were looking for when they were met with an error message while attempting to visit the online encyclopedia on Friday.

The website fell victim to a "massive and widespread" denial-of-service (DDoS) attack that paralyzed the site on Friday evening across Germany and in other parts of Europe.

Read more: Wiki foundation wants to 'decolonize the internet' with more African contributors

The website reappeared shortly before midnight before going offline again early Saturday.

In a DDoS attack, the attackers attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources. 

Read more: Translating Wikipedia pages into a local language in Ghana

Later Friday evening, Wikipedia tweeted that it was "continuing to work on restoring access."

Biding their time until the online encyclopedia was back online, social media users were quick to share their Wikipedia woes on Twitter using the hashtag #WikipediaDown.

Wikipedia - Knowledge Foundation

DW sends out a selection of the day's news and features. Sign up here.