“Malinaw na malinaw ito, the cyberattacks were traced back to the government, which means it is an official policy of this administration to attack media organizations, especially those critical of the Duterte regime. This is damning evidence that the government is out to silence the press, and belies the administration’s repeated claims that they are not attacking press freedom.” — Rep. Ferdinand Gaite,Bayan Muna
https://kodao.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Ferdinand-Gaite.png7251086Kodao Productionshttps://kodao.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/kodao.pngKodao Productions2021-06-24 13:10:352021-06-24 13:10:37'The cyberattacks were traced back to the government'
The parties understand that the plaintiffs claimed to have been victims of what appear to be repeated cyberattacks on their respective online platforms.
Collectively, the parties declare:
IP Converge Data Services, Inc. (IPC), Suniway Group of Companies (Suniway), as well as the individual defendants, namely Ernesto R. Alberto, Nerissa S. Ramos, Anabelle L. Chua, Juan Victor I. Hernandez, Patrick David R. De Leon, Sherwin Torres, Christian Villanueva, Cean Archievald Reyes, Rolando O. Fernando, Julia Mae D. Celis, Mary Ann F. Recomono, and Jiang Zongye (collecively referred to as “defendants”), express their utmost respect and full support of press freedom as a constitutional guarantee and a tenet of a democratic society.
As defendants have no prior knowledge of, much less consented to, the use of IPC’s and Suniway’s respective cyber-infrastructure for the perpetration of these cyberattacks, defendants commit to support a free press. Effective mechanisms to combat such attacks shall further be improved to prevent a repeat of this kind of situation.
In consideration of such declaration and commitment, plaintiff-operators of Bulatlat.com, Kodao.org, PinoyWeekly.org, and Altermidya.net hereby collectively withdraw their Complaint against defendants with prejudice. Likewise, defendants shall withdraw their counterclaims against the plaintiffs.
With this agreement, the four media outfits as plaintiffs are satisfied that their rights to press freedom and free expression have been recognized and upheld even as they vow to remain vigilant against any future or similar attacks. #
https://kodao.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/53270752_10157119986129866_1056903280161980416_n.png399744Kodao Productionshttps://kodao.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/kodao.pngKodao Productions2020-02-24 08:36:022020-02-24 08:41:52JOINT STATEMENT by Kodao, Bulatlat, Pinoy Weekly, Altermidya, Suniway, and IP Converge
Respondents Suniway and IP Converge, in their respective answers filed in court, deny any knowledge in the cyberattacks launched against us. Both absolve themselves of any accountability to the three-month long distributed denial of service attacks despite the fact that their infrastructure were used in these attacks.
How could one then explain that after the filing of civil case against these companies, the cyberattacks stopped?
We also decry the counterclaim filed by both companies in the total amount of P6.5 million for allegedly besmirching their reputation. It’s clear that we, the plaintiffs, have no malice and only state, as a matter of fact, the results of forensic investigation done by Qurium identifying them as sources of DDoS attacks.
The filing of counterclaim is an act of harassment against non-profit media outfits and meant to intimidate us. We are not backing down.
https://kodao.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/ddos2.jpg533800Kodao Productionshttps://kodao.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/kodao.pngKodao Productions2019-07-13 10:05:022019-07-13 10:05:03Update on the DDoS defense of alternative media outfits
MANILA — A court summon has been served Thursday, April 11, to two tech companies facing a civil complaint before a Quezon City court over the cyber-attacks against several alternative news agencies in the Philippines.
“We welcome the serving of the summons before the two tech companies that were traced as sources of the cyberattacks against our sites, according to the digital forensic investigation of Sweden-based group Qurium,” said Rhea Padilla, national coordinator of AlterMidya – People’s Alternative Media Network, an umbrella organization of at least 30 alternative news agencies in the Philippines and one of the plaintiffs in the complaint.
National Union of Peoples’ Lawyer spokesperson Josalee Deinla told Bulatlat that the two tech companies namely IP Converge and Suniway Group of Companies are expected to submit their respective answers to the filed complaint in 15 days.
After this, the Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 220 will schedule the pre-trial, Deinla added.
Padilla said, “this is a first in many steps to find out who are behind this vicious bid to silence critical media and stifle freedom of expression in the country.”
On March 29, marking the 25th year since the first ever internet connection in the Philippines, four alternative news agencies filed a civil complaint over the relentless cyber-attacks in the form of Distributed Denial of Service.
Sweden-based Qurium Media Foundation, as stated on its digital forensic report, was able to unmask and trace the real IP addresses behind the cyber-attacks, which was allegedly carried out via the infrastructure of the two tech companies.
Bulatlat, through its publisher Alipato Media Center, is among the four plaintiffs in the civil complaint, along with Kodao Productions, Pinoy Weekly and Altermidya. #
https://kodao.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/13.jpeg7681024Kodao Productionshttps://kodao.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/kodao.pngKodao Productions2019-04-12 12:34:382019-04-12 12:34:45Court summons served to 2 tech companies over cyber-attacks vs alternative news
To mark World Day Against Cyber-Censorship, the Southeast Asia Press Alliance (SEAPA) recalls the specific incidents when target news sites were forced offline
Alternative news organizations play a crucial role in informing the people about issues and concerns of public interest that are usually overlooked by the mainstream media. They provide a platform for voices in society that are conveniently ignored, or worse muted, by state and non-state actors alike.
It is precisely this role that makes these segments of the media prone to digital attacks, leading to their sites’ take down. Often, not just once but repeatedly.
Cyber attacks have also targeted other news organizations, which are known for their independence and no-nonsense approach to their work, such as the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and VERA Files since President Rodrigo Duterte took office, prompting suspicions that their stories deemed critical of the policies of the current administration have triggered the online assault.
Since 2016, when Duterte assumed office, at least 10 cases of cyber onslaught against select news outlets have been documented.
A form of censorship, such attacks make information inaccessible to the public, thus undermining freedom of expression and the people’s right to know.
What is a DDoS Attack?
There are various cyber attacks that can be perpetuated against groups or individuals online. A common attack deployed against alternative news websites in the Philippines recently is the distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.
But what is a DDoS attack?
In a nutshell, DDoS attacks, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), “aim to make online resources temporarily or indefinitely unavailable by flooding them with so much traffic that their intended users cannot access or use them.”
Websites receive traffic from its users on a regular basis but DDoS attacks send unusual volume of traffic overwhelming its capacity until it can no longer be accessible.
“Attackers build their ‘army’ of computers by spreading malware through email, social media, and various websites. Once infected, these networks of computers (‘botnets’) are exploited without their owners’ knowledge to launch a DDoS attack against a target online service,” EFF said.
“DDoS attacks target a variety of services, ranging from banks and corporations to websites belonging to human rights organizations or political dissidents. As these attacks aim to prevent the publication of and access to information on target websites, they can constitute a form of censorship.”
Pinoy Weekly, in a Facebook post, said their server informed them that the website was “temporarily suspended” as the high volume of traffic on the website was affecting other sites.
While Kodao’s website was back up evening of 26 December, it was again inaccessible two days later, with its home page flashing this message, “the account has been suspended.”
In a statement, AlterMidya (a portmanteau of the words alternative and media) said: “Their websites were evident targets of distributed denial of service or DDOS attacks, which made the websites inaccessible since December 26. The shutdown of these websites apparently happened after the news outfits posted articles about the Communist Party of the Philippines’ 50th anniversary.” (Alternative media under siege, 28 December 2018)
Kodao Productions website hacked
The December 2019 hacking incident was not a first for the website of Kodao Productions under the Duterte administration. It was hacked on 6 February 2018. (Kodao Productions Website Attacked, 6 February 2018)
Kodao Productions, in a Facebook post, said their website was down since midnight of 2 February 2018. They said their site admins could not access the website.
The website went back online on 28 March 2018, nearly two months since the attack. Kodao Productions said the website suffered a “‘code injection attack’ that wiped out its files and prevented its online managers from logging in …” (Kodao website is back online, 28 March 2018)
“Its last stories were about the arrest of National Democratic Front of the Philippines consultant Rafael Baylosis and companion in Quezon City before the attack.”
AlterMidya (People’s Alternative Media Network), “a network of independent and progressive media outfits, institutions, and individuals,” in a Facebook post on 8 February 2019, said “AlterMidya website down. We admins say this is caused by DDoS attacks similar to what Bulatlat and Kodao Productions experienced in past weeks.”
Qurium Media Foundation confirmed through a Twitter post the cyber attack against AlterMidya:
NUJP Website Attacked
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has also been the subject of cyber attacks under the Duterte administration. On 9 January 2017, NUJP’s website was inaccessible due to a “massive denial of service” attack. (NUJP Website Attacked, 10 January 2017)
NUJP said “whoever are responsible for this attack are enemies of press freedom and of free expression.”
Its website was again briefly inaccessible twice on 8 February 2019 following a DDoS attack that happened at 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. The site was back up later, at 8:30 p.m.
“We believe the attack on NUJP site is related to the ones launched against Bulatlat and alternative news sites Kodao Productions and AlterMidya, all of which host NUJP chapters,” NUJP said in a statement. (Cyberattack downs NUJP website twice, 11 February 2019)
On 11 February 2019, NUJP’s website was down twice again after it was hit by DDoS attacks. The first one was recorded between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m., and was restored that same morning. Another attack was recorded mid-afternoon; the website was back online at 4:15 p.m. (DDoS attacks on NUJP, alternative media continue, 11 February 2019)
“According to the initial report of our security auditors, the attackers’ most requested URL path is https://nujp.org/?s=duterte, a page that appears when keyword ‘Duterte’ is searched on the website,” NUJP said.
“We strongly believe this is part of an orchestrated campaign to silence critical outfits and organizations … (it) has also targeted alternative news sites such as those of our affiliates, Bulatlat, Kodao Productions, AlterMidya, and its latest target, Pinoy Weekly,” NUJP said.
Bulatlat and other alternative media organizations is set to hold a protest action on Tuesday, 12 March 2019, World Day Against Cyber Censorship, in front of the National Computer Emergency Response Team ( NCERT) unit of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) office C.P. Garcia, Quezon City in the Philippines at 10 a.m.
Qurium has called on NCERT to investigate the DDoS attacks against the alternative news sites but NCERT has yet to respond. Bulatlat said they will file a civil action case against IT companies where the attacks are being launched. #
https://kodao.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/1.png445800Kodao Productionshttps://kodao.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/kodao.pngKodao Productions2019-03-12 15:27:292019-03-14 17:43:13Digital Reality Bites: Alternative Media in the Crosshairs of Cyber Attacks