The Drudge Report, the highly trafficked conservative news website, has been knocked offline for extended periods of time over the course of the last two weeks, succumbing to large distributed denial of service attacks, according to its founder, Matt Drudge.
And it's a mystery who's behind it all.
Drudge wrote on Twitter that a December 30 attack was the "biggest DDoS since [the] site's inception."
A DDoS attack is executed by using hijacked computers or electronic devices to flood a website with redundant requests, aiming to overload the website's hosting server and render it unavailable.
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MOBILE, AL- AUGUST 21: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump greets supporters after his rally at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on August 21, 2015 in Mobile, Alabama. The Trump campaign moved tonight's rally to a larger stadium to accommodate demand. (Photo by Mark Wallheiser/Getty Images)
COMMERCE, CA - MAY 24: Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets supporters during a campaign event on May 24, 2016 in Commerce, California. Hillary Clinton is campaigning in California ahaed of the State's presidential primary on June 7th. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
DURHAM, NH - FEBRUARY 04: Democratic presidential candidates former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during their MSNBC Democratic Candidates Debate at the University of New Hampshire on February 4, 2016 in Durham, New Hampshire. This is the final debate for the Democratic candidates before the New Hampshire primaries. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
COLUMBIA, SC - FEBRUARY 24: Anita Brown, a volunteer for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, makes phone calls from a campaign field office to encourage voters in South Carolina to vote in the upcoming Democratic primary on February 24, 2016 in Columbia, South Carolina. The South Carolina Democratic primary is scheduled to take place on February 27. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA - OCTOBER 22: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers remarks while campaigning at Regent University October 22, 2016 in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The U.S. holds its presidential election in 17 days. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 14: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) jokes around as he speaks during a campaign rally at Bonanza High School on February 14, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sanders is challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination ahead of Nevada's February 20th Democratic caucus. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 19: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump (C) walks off stage as (L-R) Lara Yunaska, Vanessa Trump, Melania Trump, businessman Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Vanessa Trump, and Donald Trump Jr. look on after the third U.S. presidential debate at the Thomas & Mack Center on October 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tonight is the final debate ahead of Election Day on November 8. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Supporters reach out to shake hands with US President Barack Obama after he spoke at a Hillary for America campaign event in Greensboro, North Carolina, October 11, 2016. / AFP / JIM WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: An attendee stands amongst balloons at the end of the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 24: People react as Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on October 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. There are 14 days until the the presidential election. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 19: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears on television screens in the media center during the third presidential debate the Thomas & Mack Center on October 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tonight is the final debate ahead of Election Day on November 8. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 28: Khizr Khan, father of deceased Muslim U.S. Soldier Humayun S. M. Khan, holds up a booklet of the US Constitution as he delivers remarks on the fourth day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 28, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Donald Trump's running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade deals that Trump says hurt American workers during a campaign rally on Monday, Oct. 10, 2016 in Charlotte, N.C. (John D. Simmons/Charlotte Observer/TNS via Getty Images)
Cardboard cut outs of the faces of three candidates for the Republican nomination for the 2016 US Presidential election (L-R) Ted Cruz, Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, are seen set up on urinals in a pub in London on March 1, 2016 as part of an informal poll for customers to log which they dislike the most.
Part of the satirical television show The Last Leg, customers at the pub are able to choose which urinal to use and then log their poll on a list on the wall afterwards. / AFP / JUSTIN TALLIS (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - SEPTEMBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the American Airlines Center on September 14, 2015 in Dallas, Texas. More than 20,000 tickets have been distributed for the event. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
COCONUT CREEK, FL - OCTOBER 25: Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton greets supporters during a campaign rally at Broward College on October 25, 2016 in Coconut Creek, Florida. With two weeks to go until election day, Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Florida. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Huma Abedin waits for an event with Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at University of New Hampshire September 28, 2016 in Durham, New Hampshire. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
MADISON, WI - MARCH 30: Republican Presidential candidate Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) laughs at a poster while speaking to guests at a town hall event called 'Women for Cruz' Coalition Rollout with wife Heidi, mother Eleanor Cruz, and former Republican candidate Carly Fiorina March 30, 2016 in Madison, Wisconsin. Candidates are campaigning in Wisconsin ahead of the state's April 5th primary. (Photo by Darren Hauck/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 17: Arizona Cardinals fans wear masks of Presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton during the NFL game between the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium on October 17, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 22: Singer Katy Perry (R) takes a selfie with dorm residents as she canvasses for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton at UNLV on October 22, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Today is the first day for early voting in Nevada ahead of the November 8 general election. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 14: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump stands with Women for Trump as he speaks to supporters at a rally on October 14, 2016 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, North Carolina. Trump continues to campaign for his run for president of the United States. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
ALBUQUERQUE, NM - OCTOBER 30: Supporters cheer for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during a campaign rally at Atlantic Aviation near Albuquerque International Airport October 30, 2016 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. With less than nine days until Americans go to the polls, Trump is campaigning in Nevada, New Mexico and Colorado. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
An attendee wears a fake nose reading 'Hilary's Lies = Obvious' during a campaign event with Donald Trump, 2016 Republican presidential nominee, not pictured, in Henderson, Nevada, U.S., on Wednesday, Oct. 5, 2016. Trump's weeklong slide in the presidential race started when he showed up to the first debate unprepared and spoiling for a fight. On Tuesday evening, Mike Pence helped slow it by doing the opposite. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WEST DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 31: A billboard of Donald Trump in the backyard of George Davey's home on January 31, 2016 in West Des Moines, Iowa. The billboard features the photo of Mr. Davey's chosen candidate in the upcoming Iowa caucuses: Donald Trump.
(Photos by Charles Ommanney/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
HIALEAH, FL - DECEMBER 28: People wait for the arrival of Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush for a meet and greet event at Chico's Restaurant on December 28, 2015 in Hialeah, Florida. Bush continues to campaign for his parties' nomination as the presidential candidate. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
MIAMI, FL - SEPTEMBER 12: Republican presidential candidate and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush shows off a Reagan/Bush '84 tee-shirt as he speaks during a Miami field office opening on September 12, 2015 in Miami, Floria. Bush continues to campaign for the Republican nomination. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 10: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) meets with Reverend Al Sharpton at Sylvia's Restaurant on February 10, 2016 in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City. The meeting comes after a strong victory for Senator Sanders in the New Hampshire primary. (Photo by Andrew Renneisen/Getty Images)
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO - JULY 29: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump reacts to the cries of three-month-old Kellen Campbell, of Denver, right, while holding six-month-old Evelyn Keane, of Castel Rock, Colo., after Trump's speech at the Gallogly Event Center on the campus of the University of Colorado on July 29, 2016 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. (Photo by Joe Mahoney/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump kisses a 'Women for Trump' placard during a rally at the Lakeland Linder Regional Airport in Lakeland, Florida on October 12, 2016. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 08: Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) prepares to board a flight from Los Angeles back to Vermont on June 8, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. During a rally in Santa Monica last night Sanders vowed to continue his campaign into the convention. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - JUNE 02: Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers a national security address on June 2, 2016 in San Diego, California. With less than one week to go before the California presidential primary, Hillary Clinton delivered a major national security address as she campaigns in Southern California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 17: Anastasia Lee waits for the start of a campaign rally with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the KI Convention Center on October 17, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Lee is scheduled to sing the national anthem at the rally. Trump will square off with democratic rival Hillary Clinton for a final debate before the election on October 19 in Las Vegas. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 11: Democratic presidental nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton waves as she leaves the home of her daughter Chelsea Clinton on September 11, 2016 in New York City. Hillary Clinton left a September 11 Commemoration Ceremony early after feeling overheated and went to her daughter's house to rest. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 25: A bird lands on Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders podium as he speaks on March 25, 2016 in Portland, Oregon. Sanders spoke to a crowd of more than eleven thousand about a wide range of issues, including getting big money out of politics, his plan to make public colleges and universities tuition-free, combating climate change and ensuring universal health care. (Photo by Natalie Behring/Getty Images)
LAS VEGAS, NV - OCTOBER 19: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump looks down at the podium during the third U.S. presidential debate at the Thomas & Mack Center on October 19, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Tonight is the final debate ahead of Election Day on November 8. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FL - MARCH 15: Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton winks at Sam Oser during a visit to a Dunkin' Donuts on March 15, 2016 in West Palm Beach, Florida. Clinton is campaigning in North Carolina before traveling to Florida to hold a primary night event. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
DUBUQUE, IA - JANUARY 30: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump arrives for a rally at the airport on January 30, 2016 in Dubuque, Iowa. Trump is in Iowa trying to gain support in front of the state's February 1 caucuses. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - Democratic Nominee for President of the United States former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton speaks to and meets Ohio voters during a rally at John Marshall High School in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday August 17, 2016. (Photo by Melina Mara/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
IN FLIGHT, UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 26: Democratic presidential nominee former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivers birthday cake to reporters on her campaign plane while traveling from Tampa, Florida to New York on October 26, 2016. Hillary Clinton turned 69 years-old today. With less than two weeks to go until election day, Hillary Clinton is campaigning in Florida. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FL - OCTOBER 24: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump hugs the American flag as he arrives for a campaign rally at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre on October 24, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. There are 14 days until the the presidential election. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 22: Democratic presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Select Committee on Benghazi October 22, 2015 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The committee held a hearing to continue its investigation on the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, on the evening of September 11, 2012. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - NOVEMBER 02: Amelia Good, 6, wears a crown made from pipe cleaners during a campaign rally with Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump at the Orlando Amphitheater at Central Florida Fairgrounds November 2, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. With less than a week before Election Day in the United States, Trump and his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, are campaigning in key battleground states that each must win to take the White House. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Democrat presidential nominee Hillary Clinton takes a selfie with attendees at a rally at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan October 10, 2016. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
An attendee stands for a photograph while wearing a shirt in support of Senator Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont and 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, not pictured, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, U.S., on Wednesday, March 30, 2016. After routing Hillary Clinton in three western-state Democratic caucuses, Sanders still faces daunting delegate math and a road ahead dominated by big-state primaries that have been the weakest link in his campaign. Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images
CLEVELAND, OH - JULY 21: Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump delivers a speech during the evening session on the fourth day of the Republican National Convention on July 21, 2016 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Cleveland, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Republican National Convention kicked off on July 18. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Pastors and attendees lay hands and pray over Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump during the Midwest Vision and Values Pastors and Leadership Conference at the New Spirit Revival Center in Cleveland Heights, Ohio on September 21, 2016. / AFP / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 17: Destn Montague listens to President Barack Obama speaks at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation's 46th Annual Legislative Conference Phoenix Awards Dinner, September 17 2016, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 12: A demonstrator wearing a Donald Duck costume dances in front of the Trump International Hotel during the hotel's first day of business September 12, 2016 in Washington, DC. The Trump Organization was granted a 60-year lease to the historic Old Post Office by the federal government before Trump announced his intent to run for president. The hotel has 263 luxury rooms, including the 6,300-square-foot 'Trump Townhouse' at $100,000 a night, with a five-night minimum. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - JULY 27: US President Barack Obama and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton embrace on the third day of the Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center, July 27, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton received the number of votes needed to secure the party's nomination. An estimated 50,000 people are expected in Philadelphia, including hundreds of protesters and members of the media. The four-day Democratic National Convention kicked off July 25. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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But, according to cybersecurity experts who spoke to Business Insider, using such a method to take down the Drudge Report would not be easy.
The website is already equipped to handle a high volume of visitors and scale out to accommodate spikes in traffic. Moreover, a website that generates so many page views would likely employ strong defense measures, the cybersecurity experts said.
"The Drudge Report has a massive readership," said Ajay Arora, CEO and co-founder of the cybersecurity firm Vera. "Generally someone that has that kind of viewership is going to have sophisticated hosting and counter defenses against DDoS attacks."
Since its inception in 1996, the Drudge Report has been a home to conservatives who feel disenfranchised by traditional media. Drudge has marketed his website as a news destination not controlled by corporate interests or politicians. And he's had great success.
SimilarWeb, an analytics firm, continually ranks the Drudge Report in the top-five most trafficked media publishers in the US. According to analytics posted to the website, the Drudge Report has amassed approximately 775 million page views in the past 31 days — all with hardly any traffic coming from social-media channels.
It's a high-prized target, and one that now sees itself under attack by an unknown culprit.
For his part, Drudge has pointed the finger at the US government, tweeting that the traffic which downed his website had "VERY suspicious routing [and timing]."
"Attacking coming from 'thousands' of sources," he wrote on the social media platform. "Of course none of them traceable to Fort Meade..."
Drudge seemed to imply that his site was taken down in connection with punishment leveled against Russia for election-related hacking. The first attack on his website came hours after President Barack Obama announced the US would impose sanctions against Moscow, and the Drudge Report had previously been identified in a Washington Post story as responsible for spreading Russian propaganda.
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At the end of 2015, Vladimir Putin lauded Trump's presidential campaign, calling him "an absolute leader of the presidential race, as we see it."
In response to Putin's compliments Trump said: "It is always a great honor to be so nicely complimented by a man so highly respected within his own country and beyond."
Putin has called Trump a "very outstanding man" and "unquestionably talented."
When Russia continued its military buildup in Syria and Putin backed the country's President Bashar al-Assad in 2015, Trump declared the Russian leader earned an "A" in leadership.
Trump not only gave the Russian leader an "A," he also said Putin has been a better leader than US President Barack Obama. "He is really very much of a leader," Trump said of Putin. "The man has very strong control over his country. Now, it's a very different system, and I don't happen to like the system, but certainly in that system he's been a leader, far more than our president has been a leader."
At a national security forum in September, Trump explained his friendly relationship with Putin saying: "If he says great things about me, I'm going to say great things about him."
When asked about allegations that Putin orchestrated the deaths of his political opponents and journalists, Trump defended Putin: "I haven't seen any evidence that he killed anybody."
After Trump won the election November 8, Putin sent the president-elect a telegram congratulating him on his victory.
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"Maybe they think this is a proportional counterattack to Russia," tweeted Sheryl Attkisson, a former CBS News investigative journalist. "After all they have decided @Drudge is Russian fake news, right?"
Neither the White House nor the Office of the Director of National Intelligence responded to requests for comment. But cybersecurity experts who spoke to Business Insider discounted Drudge's claim on grounds that the government attacking a US journalist's website would be a blatant violation of the Constitution — as well as generally improbable.
"If [Vladimir] Putin wanted to take down a website, I'm sure he could order it," said Jared DeMott, chief technology officer of Binary Defense Systems and former security engineer for the National Security Agency. "If Obama wanted to do something like that, he'd have to go to different people. It would be a hard conversation to have."
"Maybe if there was a military reason to have it," DeMott added. "But domestically, there is no way."
DeMott, however, posited that another nation-state could be the potential culprit.
"It definitely could be a nation-state," he said. "They do stuff like that on an ongoing basis, whether they are looking for intel or trying to destabilize a political region."
Arora agreed, saying that only a "small number of groups" in the world have the sophistication necessary to execute an attack to take out the Drudge Report for extended periods of time.
"I would say it would be a group or nation-state that has pretty sophisticated methods and means," he said. "Given the fact it's happened a number of times and is persistent for well over a few minutes, and it's coming from multiple sources, against a site that would have a lot of protection, it would indicate it's someone pretty sophisticated."
Chris Weber, co-founder of the firm Casaba Security, explained that because the Drudge Report is "getting so much traffic already," a DDoS attack would need to be on a far "greater magnitude" to be effective against it.
"It does seem unlikely that the Drudge Report would be easily taken down or slowed significantly by a standard DDoS attack," he said. He surmised that the attack that took down the website was perhaps more on the scale of the massive cyberattack that temporarily knocked out Dyn, a large DNS company, in October 2016. WikiLeaks said its supporters were behind that attack as a show of support for the group's founder, Julian Assange.
Outside nation-states, it is equally probable that the Drudge Report has come under fire from a "hacktivist" organization, perhaps unhappy with the political views espoused by its founder.
Drudge has always been a controversial conservative figure, but in 2016 he went all-in for President-elect Donald Trump, often igniting controversy with inflammatory headlines emblazoned on his website.
But hacktivist organizations almost always take credit after a successful attack has been executed, experts said. So far, no one has claimed credit for the attacks on the Drudge Report.
And, without a group taking credit, it may be impossible to determine the culprit.
"Attribution has always been hard in cyber," DeMott said. "The science is just quite not mature."
Arora said any information Drudge "can provide in terms of motives" to a cybersecurity team would be helpful in identifying the responsible party.
"There's a lot of people that don't like Matt Drudge. He likes to push people's buttons," he said. "Anyone who he specifically has knowledge of, who would be out to get him."
Arora added: "It's not just a technology question, it's also a motive question."