• United States



FCC should produce logs to prove ‘multiple DDoS attacks’ stopped net neutrality comments

May 09, 20174 mins
CyberattacksCybercrimeData and Information Security

Fight for the Future says the FCC should produce its logs to prove its ‘multiple DDoS attacks’ claim that silenced net neutrality comments

net neutrality computer internet broadband regulation goverment
Credit: IDG News Service

After John Oliver urged viewers of HBO’s Last Week Tonight to fight for net neutrality (again) and post comments on the FCC’s site, people were not able to submit comments because the site turned to molasses.

The FCC blamed the problem on “multiple” DDoS attacks: “These were deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host. These actors were not attempting to file comments themselves; rather they made it difficult for legitimate commenters to access and file with the FCC.”

A DDoS attack at the exact same time as Oliver’s viewers would have been leaving comments? Pfft. The last rally cry by Oliver resulted in such a flood of would-be commenters that it crashed the FCC comments site. So, it doesn’t seem outside the realm of possibilities that his newest plea for every internet group to come together and tell the FCC to preserve net neutrality and Title II could also crash the site.

In fact, Fight for the Future is highly skeptical of the FCC’s excuse and wants answers, saying the FCC should back up its DDoS attack claims with proof. It’s really quite simple, the FCC should release its logs.

There are only two possible scenarios for the FCC’s site to go down, according to Fight for the Future:

  1. The FCC is being intentionally misleading and trying to claim that the surge in traffic from large numbers of people attempting to access following John Oliver’s segment amounts to a “DDoS” attack. The thought being to 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.
  2. Someone actually did DDoS the FCC’s site at the exact same time as John Oliver’s segment in order to actively prevent people from commenting in support of keeping the Title II net neutrality rules that millions of people fought for in 2015.

Either scenario should concern “anyone who cares about government transparency, free speech, and the future of the internet,” the group said.

Fight for the Future further said:

The FCC should immediately release its logs to an independent security analyst or major news outlet to verify exactly what happened last night. The public deserves to know, and the FCC has a responsibility to maintain a functioning website and ensure that every member of the public who wants to submit a comment about net neutrality has the ability to do so. Anything less is a subversion of our democracy.

As Oliver and Fight for the Future pointed out, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, a former attorney for Verizon, is no fan of net neutrality. He intends to reverse course and basically kill net neutrality, while making it sound like it isn’t needed at all. Oliver pointed out inconsistencies in Pai’s claims about net neutrality. You should consider watching the segment if you haven’t. The YouTube version has over 2 million views and counting.

I know, I know. Americans have already fought and won this fight, leaving roughly 4 million comments last time, but apparently we must be heard again. While this isn’t “war,” perhaps we should consider a snippet from The Art of War? Sun Tzu said, “To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands, but the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself.”

I agree with Fight for the Future; the FCC should produce its logs and prove its multiple DDoS claim. It will either be true or another bizarre claim in a series of inexplicable claims—some might can them lies—made by Pai. If the truth is continually being twisted and presented as facts, then it might encourage people who would not normally comment in support of net neutrality to do so. Right now, there are under 350,000 comments filed, which is a long way from the 4 million last time.

If you’d like to submit a comment, use Oliver’s simplified URL——and click Express.

ms smith

Ms. Smith (not her real name) is a freelance writer and programmer with a special and somewhat personal interest in IT privacy and security issues. She focuses on the unique challenges of maintaining privacy and security, both for individuals and enterprises. She has worked as a journalist and has also penned many technical papers and guides covering various technologies. Smith is herself a self-described privacy and security freak.