The FCC’s comment system targeted by DDoS attacks during filing period for net neutrality

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The FCC suffered multiple distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks Sunday night and Monday morning, the agency said in a statement today. The attacks appear to be aimed at shutting down the electronic comment filing system by which people can submit opinions on the proposed rollback of net neutrality rules.

“Beginning on Sunday night at midnight, our analysis reveals that the FCC was subject to multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks,” read a statement from the FCC’s CIO, David Bray. “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.”

That contradicts the theory that the volume of discourse, possibly spurred by (another) treatment of the subject by John Oliver, was such that it took the system down.

That did happen last time, but the FCC has bolstered the ECFS since then, and may even have been prepared for this kind of adversarial treatment. Opponents of the proposed rollback may have taken this as a sign to make their voices heard in a more hands-on fashion, such as hanging signs on the doors of Chairman Ajit Pai’s neighbors.

The system seems to be up and running now, and about 178,000 comments have been filed so far. Want to add your own? Follow these instructions.

I’ve asked the FCC for more details on the alleged DDoS and will update this post if I hear back.