By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Cyber-attack against Bulatlat, an alternative online news site has been relentless but like House Martell in the HBO Original Series “Game of Thrones”, the site and its editorial staff remain “unbent, unbowed and unbroken”. With the organization’s resolve and help of a Sweden based group of digital forensic investigation expert, the attackers did not succeed to bring the site down.
Ronalyn Olea, managing editor of Bulatlat said the attacks started January 19 until January 31 and then resumed at around 2:00 AM today, February 5. She said Qurium Media Foundation has been mitigating the attacks since January 25.
“If not for Qurium ay down na ang site since January 19,” Olea said.
Qurium is a noted Sweden-based group of digital forensic investigation experts that provides support to various media agencies facing similar attacks.
On its website, Qurium said that Bulatlat’s website has been subjected to a series of denial of service attacks since January 19. The group said the attackers attacked the old hosting’s “front-end at Cloudfare and later on they directed the attack to the hosting site,” using at least 1,100 compromised computers “to flood the website with requests.”
Qurium noted that the attackers are keeping a low request per ration “to avoid flood detection.”
The cyber-attack has repeatedly brought down the website for several days.
Olea said the Bulatlat website was migrated to Qurium in the middle of the attack on January 25. She said that before that, Bulalat website was down as BlueHost was not able to handle the large traffic due to DDoS.
Olea said this is not the first time that Bulatlat has been subjected to such cyber-attack. On December 26, Bulatlat’s website, along with other alternative news agencies, were also down due to an apparent similar attack.
“We deem the attacks as politically motivated given the timing and context under the Duterte administration,” Olea said.
Attack on press freedom
Olea said the attack against Bulatlat is attack against press freedom and the people’s right to know.
“The only reason we can think of is our brand of journalism — one that sides with the Filipino people, with clear bias for the truth. Enemies of press freedom always want to curtail the truth,” she said.
Olea said Bulatlat stories have exposed anti-people policies of the administration at the same time featured the Filipino people’s resistance. She said silencing alternative media is stifling the people’s voice.
“It’s not about us really but the people’s issues reflected in our stories,” Olea said.
Meanwhile, Kodao Production, another online alternative media outfit remains offline after a similar attack during the same period. # nordis.net