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Dropbox says sorry for extended outage, dismisses talk of hack

While Target continues to deal with the fallout of a massive data breach that took place last month involving more than a hundred million customer accounts, Dropbox took to its blog on Sunday to allay fears among its user base that another high-profile hack had taken place after the cloud-based storage site went down Friday, affecting users for up to two days.

Soon after the site went offline, a supposed Anonymous hacker took credit for the disruption and threatened a major “database leak.” Dropbox, however, insisted it was an internal issue.

Dropbox’s VP of engineering Aditya Agarwal on Sunday reassured users that their files “were always safe, and despite some reports, no hacking or DDOS attack was involved.” The site was up and running again Sunday afternoon PT, although Agarwal said they were still dealing with “a few last issues with the Dropbox photos tab.”

The company blamed the outage on a bug that caused a routine server upgrade to be mistakenly installed on several active servers, “which brought down the entire service.” In a show of transparency, Agarwal posted a link to Dropbox’s tech blog providing more details about the issue that caused the downtime.

While the company managed to restore most of the site’s functionality within three hours, some users had trouble with their accounts throughout Saturday and part of Sunday as engineers grappled with the issue.

Agarwal promised his team was in the process of “building more tools and checks” in an effort to prevent similar disruption to its service in the future, and offered an apology for any trouble caused.

The outage came as new reports suggested a number of high-profile retailers besides Target had succumbed to cyber attacks over the holiday period.

Target boss Gregg Steinhafel admitted in a CNBC interview to air Monday that his company had made mistakes when it came to protecting customer data.

“Clearly, we’re accountable and we’re responsible. But we’re going to come out at the end of this a better company. We’re gonna make significant changes,” Steinhafel told CNBC’s Becky Quick.

He added, “We are not going to rest until we understand what happened and how that happened. I’m personally very sorry that this whole event even happened.”

Dropbox users will no doubt be annoyed by the loss of service over the weekend but at the same relieved they’re not having to go through the rigmarole of changing passwords and worrying about stolen personal data.

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