UPDATE: As of Wednesday morning, the Times' site appeared to be back to normal for many users, and spokeswoman Eileen Murphy told Politico that the issue is "close to being resolved." At 11:29 a.m. ET, the Times' Twitter account pointed to a backup site, news.nytco.com, for users still experiencing problems.
Eileen Murphy, a spokeswoman for the Times, tweeted that the problem "is most likely result of malicious external attack," adding that the company is working to fix it. The Times was directing readers to news.nytco.com while it worked on restoring service, and posted this note on its homepage:
To Our Readers
Our website was unavailable to users in the United States for a period of time on Tuesday. The outage was the result of an external attack on our domain name registrar, and we are at work on fully restoring service. We regret if this incident has caused you any inconvenience.
— The New York Times
Gawker posted a screenshot of nytimes.com that showed a completely blank page except for the phrase, "Hacked by SEA." The site also surfaced a tweet allegedly from the Syrian Electronic Army that claimed the group targeted Twitter, too.
The Syrian Electronic Army is a familiar foe for news organizations, including the Associated Press, Reuters and The Guardian, whose Twitter feeds have been compromised in the past.
The Times' website experienced an outage for several hours earlier this month, though the company claimed it was caused by internal maintenance.
Representatives for the Times and Twitter did not immediately respond to requests for comments.