The New York Times website failed today, apparently the work of hackers.
"We are working to fix the problem. Our initial assessment is that this is most likely the result of a malicious external attack," Times spokeswoman Eileen Murphy said in an email.
The publication's customer service center said the site -- nytimes.com -- had been dark most of Tuesday.
It is the second failure of the site, which was down Aug. 14 due to what the publication said then was an internal problem, not the result of hacking.
It's not unusual for websites to fail. But the prevalence of politically motivated hacking put a stronger spotlight on disruptions of major sites.
A day after the Aug. 14 Times site previous crash, a group identified as the Syrian Electronic Army took down the Washington Post website and others.
Such attacks make obvious the vulnerability of electronic links and communication that now underpin much of the information flow in the U.S.
And they make the victims, the Times in the this case, vulnerable to rivals willing to exploit the situation. The Wall Street Journal, possibly making such a move, temporarily suspended its so-called paywall, so that users can access WSJ information free at a time they lack access to the Times.
Businesses often can convert such guests to paying customers later.
The website failures, regardless of reasons, could undercut the Times' reputation as a reliable source of online news and information and make users especially likely to turn to a competitor.
The Times allows some free use of its site, but requires a subscription for full access.