A start-up endorsed by Hillary Clinton immediately gets taken down by hackers

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(This post originally appeared on The Washington Post)

As any business owner can tell you: be careful for what you ask for…you just might get it.

That’s what a start-up called Verrit found out this past weekend. The site, which launched this past June, is attempting to bring together Hillary Clinton’s supporters (dubbed the “65.8 million” in reference to the number of popular votes she received in the election) so that they can share facts, statistics and other “information you can take out to social media when you’re having debates on key issues people are discussing,” Peter Daou, the company’s founder, said in an interview with ReCode. Daou had previously worked on Clinton’s senate and White House campaigns.

Daou has pretty big plans for his company. He wants Verrit to be a platform complete with messaging, videos, podcasts and other elements so that supporters of Clinton can fight the “bullying from the radical right and fringe left.”

On Saturday night, Daou got great news. His service received a significant endorsement from none other than the former secretary of state herself. She tweeted “I’m excited to sign up for @Verrit, a media platform for the 65.8 million! Will you join me and sign up too.” That’s pretty cool. But unfortunately the very public website that supports a very public and controversial figure with many, many enemies, wasn’t exactly prepared for the response.

I’m excited to sign up for @Verrit, a media platform for the 65.8 million! Will you join me and sign up too? https://verrit.com/sixty-five-point-eight-million 

Shortly after Clinton’s tweet the site suffered a “pretty significant and sophisticated” cyber attack. The distributed denial-of-service attack, a not-uncommon weapon used by hackers, overwhelmed the site’s servers with traffic from a bunch of different sources. So significant that the site had to shut down, and was reported to be still off line a day later.

A recent check found Verrit to be up and running again…and hopefully with better security safeguards in place.

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