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FCC refuses to provide proof of hack

by on22 May 2017

Did it even happen?

The FCC is getting a bit of bad press for refusing to reveal details of an alleged DDoS hack which caused its site to crash.

A couple of weeks ago, John Oliver asked viewers to express their concerns about net neutrality on the FCC’s website and the site crashed. The FCC insisted that that it had nothing to do with concerned citizens worried about selling off net neutrality to the big telcos but was a single hacker mounting a DDoS attack.

However when activists, senators, and security experts have demanded to see the logs but the FCC has decided they cannot show anyone because of “privacy” concerns.

At the same time, comments that were in favour of killing net neutrality protections started to appear on the site and when the people who allegedly wrote the comments were contacted, they had no idea why their name was being used. Bots were being deployed to promote an anti-net neutrality position.

Activist groups demanded documentation on the DDoS attacks from the FCC. In an official statement, the non-profit group Fight for the Future said it was possible that the FCC was misleading people by claiming that the surge in traffic from large numbers of people attempting to comment following John Oliver’s segment amounts to a “DDoS” attack. This would let themselves off the hook for essentially silencing large numbers of people by not having a properly functioning site to receive comments from the public about an important issue.

Another scenario is that someone did DDoS the FCC’s site at the exact same time as John Oliver’s segment, to actively prevent people from commenting in support of keeping the Title II net neutrality rules that millions of people fought for in 2015.

FCC Chief Information Officer David Bray told ZDNET ( )that the logs will not be released which would prove that the attack happened.

He claims that the attack did not come from a botnet, but was instead coming from commercial cloud services. It used the FCC’s API which is legally required to be open to the public.

He said that the attack logs could not be released because they contain private information like IP addresses. Hang on, isn’t part of this net neutrality thing about FCC allowing major companies to pay for your information? It seems odd that they are suddenly concerned about privacy.

The FCC does not appear to have made a complaint to the police about the attack, or if it has, there has been no announcement from anyone about it. They are also saying that they will allow the faked anti-net neutrality comments to remain on their site.

Last modified on 22 May 2017
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