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Twitter has been up and down throughout Thursday -- and now a group of hackers known as UGNazi is taking credit for causing the outages. "We just #TangoDown'd twitter.com for 40 minutes worldwide! #UGnazi," reads a tweet sent from @UG on Thursday afternoon that was directed at accounts associated with the more well-known and widespread Anonymous hacker collective, as well as the media outlet Russia Today.
#TangoDown is a term adopted by Anonymous and other hackers and botnet owners referring to a successful attack against a targeted website. Outages are most often caused by some combination of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and botnets. Both methods overload a target website's servers with bogus traffic with the goal of causing them to fail.
UGnazi's tweet was first noticed by CBS Atlanta.
Twitter, meanwhile, is claiming the outage is due to a "cascaded bug" in an infrastructure component, making no mention of hackers.
UGnazi's website lists four members of the organization -- JoshTheGod/Andy Bay, MrOsama/Justin Martin, Cosmo/Hannah Sweet and GrimTheGod/Eli Long. It features a cartoon image of Adolf Hitler as well as swastika imagery. However, such imagery doesn't necessarily mean the group has a neo-Nazi ideology, as its use is considered humorous in some parts of hacker culture.
A list of "targets and reasons" posted on the site gives a glimpse of some of the group's claimed targets: "Google -- for the Lulz, nothing can stop us, 4chan.org -- Eliminate the Pedophiles, Naqdaq.com [sic] -- Fuck the stock-market."
Meanwhile, Twitter accounts associated with Anonymous have been tweeting cryptic references to the Twitter outages without directly taking credit for them. "We love you Internet, and this is why we fight for you," reads one from @YourAnonNews. "We told you we wouldn't go quietly and we never give up easy. #SaveTheInternet."
Other recent Anonymous tweets have discussed the case of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, who is currently seeking asylum in Ecuador.
Mashable has reached out to Twitter, UGnazi and Anonymous for comment. We cannot confirm UGnazi's claims.
Image courtesy of iStockphoto, PashaIgnatov