Cyber attack slows City of Columbia's website

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COLUMBIA - The City of Columbia experienced another attack on the city's website late Thursday morning.

IT specialists said it was a "Distributed Denial of Services" attack, which is a method of overwhelming the site with information until it malfunctions.

The city's website experienced a similar attack in December of 2014, when the website went offline for several days.

"There's not a whole lot you can do about it," Information Technologies Assistant Director Mark Neckerman said. "Just try to prepare for it and deal with it when it happens."

Neckerman said the city was much better prepared this time.

"It's always going to be a constant threat, but we learned a lot of lessons from the first time we went through the attack," Neckerman said. "We had a lot better plan coming into the attack today."

Neckerman added the attack did not leak any personal information, and he also said the attackers did not infiltrate the city's site.

"In this case we were just attacked," Neckerman said. "It's no different than someone attacking you walking down the street. They didn't necessarily take anything from you, but they beat you up pretty good."

Officials said they could not speculate about who was responsible for the attack.

"If there's anything we can do on our own to find it, we might spend a little bit of time on it," City of Columbia IT professional Luke Goldman said. "Most of it we'll leave up to law enforcement."

A Twitter account claimed responsibility for the attack, but it could not be verified.