The BBC’s websites were down for several hours on Thursday due to a hacking attack, according to the British Broadcasting Company’s public broadcaster.

According to the news corporation, a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack was responsible for bringing the BBC and its related websites offline, making them unavailable to their users. DDOS attacks work by flooding a network with communication requests, which result in the network becoming disabled and access to it becomes restricted. This was of critical importance given the fact that at any given time there are more than 101 million unique visitors per month on the BBC website.

Hackers Shut Down BBC Website

Users who were trying to access and its affiliate websites were presented with an error message saying “The site could be temporarily unavailable or too busy.” Initially, the BBC press office put it down to being just a technical issue and issued a notification informing its users that they were working on fixing it. Later, however, they admitted that the outage was due to a DDOS attack on their web servers. The website then displayed a message when things were finally sorted out, announcing that it was operational again and apologizing to viewers for the inconvenience caused.