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FCC Claims DDOS Attacks Following 'Last Week Tonight' Segment

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said it suffered distributed-denial of service (DDoS) attacks following the Last Week Tonight segment on net neutrality. Yet the Fight for the Future advocacy group said it's "extremely skeptical" about the commission's claim it was attacked.

This marks the second time that HBO's show, which is hosted by John Oliver, rallied its viewers around net neutrality. The first time was in June 2014, and Oliver's segment inspired so many comments on the FCC's site that it knocked it offline. Now, following the announcement that FCC chairman Ajit Pai wants to roll back Obama administration regulations of internet service providers, Oliver told viewers to oppose the decision again.

The FCC said in April that it plans to stop regulating ISPs under Title II of the Communications Act of 1934. This would make it harder for the FCC to prevent ISPs from, say, prioritizing their own services over competitive offerings. Doing so would give those services an unfair advantage over their competitors, and it would also open up the possibility of ISPs charging you higher fees based on the websites and services you want to use.

Pai said in a speech--a transcript of which you can find on the FCC website--that Title II regulations have caused ISPs to slow their investments in U.S. infrastructure. Materials published by the FCC entitled Internet Regulations: Myths vs Facts and Restoring Internet Freedom For All Americans claimed that rolling back these regulations would lead to renewed investments, better internet access, and the creation of new jobs.

Oliver's segment argued several of these points. He then explained how viewers could comment on the proposal and revealed that Last Week Tonight purchased "gofccyourself.com" and redirected it to the final step of the multi-part process. The segment worked: The FCC's website once again crashed because so many people rushed to comment on it. Or, as the commission said, because it inspired someone to DDoS the site.

Here's what the FCC said in a press release:

Beginning on Sunday night at midnight, our analysis reveals that the FCC was subject to multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks(DDos) [sic]. 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. While the comment system remained up and running the entire time, these DDoS events tied up the servers and prevented them from responding to people attempting to submit comments. We have worked with our commercial partners to address this situation and will continue to monitor developments going forward.

Fight for the Future said in a statement that the FCC's claims are extremely unlikely. The digital rights group said two possible scenarios could explain the FCC's claim: that the commission is "being intentionally misleading" so it can "let [itself] off the hook for essentially silencing large numbers of people" by not having a stable enough website, or that someone actually conducted a DDoS attack on the commission's site.

The group called on the FCC to release logs to independent security experts or media outlets to investigate the claims of an attack. It later said in an email to Tom's Hardware:

We have now read that the FCC is claiming this also happened in 2014 during the last John Oliver segment about the issue, and we are even more skeptical. Why was this not widely publicized at the time when there was widespread media coverage that the FCC's site had buckled under the weight of massive numbers of comments generated by Oliver and the net neutrality activists behind BattleForTheNet.com?

Either way, it's clear that many people oppose the FCC's plan to roll back open internet protections. Can all of that be pinned on Last Week Tonight and its host? Was the FCC targeted by DDoS attacks? And how much do the answers to those questions matter, apart from their distraction from the bigger issue?

  • JamesSneed
    You can add me to the list of people who went to www.gofccyourself.com and filed with the FCC to keep Net Neutrality intact.
    Reply
  • shrapnel_indie
    Would be nice to know what the FTC's job is in all of this as the FCC says it's backing down to let the FTC regulate.... Oh wait... that side of the story doesn't nearly stir the pot as much, if at all.
    Reply
  • jeremy2020
    lol, people commenting are now "DDOS Attacks".
    Reply
  • toadhammer
    News flash: FCC soon to announce it will only accept snail-mail submissions related to internet regulations.
    Reply
  • Giroro
    Everybody is concerned about something as minor ss slow lanes without thinking of the real implications. What is Comcast's motivation to let their competition even access their network in the first place (which the majority of internet traffic ultimately travels through at some point).

    What's preventing comcast or Time Warner from just outright making Netflix and Hulu 100% inaccessible -not just from their own customers, they can affect users of other ISPs if the traffic gets routed through their part of the country.
    What protection is their from Verizon hijacking AT&T's website to their own?

    Whats stopping any of the ISPs from canceling service to anybody who tries to contact the FCC about this. Which would blacklist that would also be legal for these companies to share with each other, because Ajit Pai is allowing ISPs to sell your personally identifiable browsing history to anybody they want (including the government, without a warrant).

    Trillions of dollars could evaporate from the world's economy overnight if the CEO of one of these companies thinks they can make a quick buck if they decide to cut off some of these massive web service provides like Amazon, or Google, or Facebook, or even Microsoft and Apple. They could even cut off brokerage houses from trading securities. The ripple from that could (legally) collapse the world economy.
    The consequences are far too dire to allow a single person to act on his own whims and financial interests without meaningful consequence - and the FTC lacks the teeth to impose a fine of any significance if they do decide to take the reigns.

    The actions of Ajit Pai will result in the most damage an American has ever done toward the progress of humanity.
    Reply
  • Nergo Pthycc
    DDOS?

    Fake News
    Reply
  • JamesSneed
    19669049 said:
    Everybody is concerned about something as minor ss slow lanes without thinking of the real implications. What is Comcast's motivation to let their competition even access their network in the first place (which the majority of internet traffic ultimately travels through at some point).

    What's preventing comcast or Time Warner from just outright making Netflix and Hulu 100% inaccessible -not just from their own customers, they can affect users of other ISPs if the traffic gets routed through their part of the country.
    What protection is their from Verizon hijacking AT&T's website to their own?

    Whats stopping any of the ISPs from canceling service to anybody who tries to contact the FCC about this. Which would blacklist that would also be legal for these companies to share with each other, because Ajit Pai is allowing ISPs to sell your personally identifiable browsing history to anybody they want (including the government, without a warrant).

    Trillions of dollars could evaporate from the world's economy overnight if the CEO of one of these companies thinks they can make a quick buck if they decide to cut off some of these massive web service provides like Amazon, or Google, or Facebook, or even Microsoft and Apple. They could even cut off brokerage houses from trading securities. The ripple from that could (legally) collapse the world economy.
    The consequences are far too dire to allow a single person to act on his own whims and financial interests without meaningful consequence - and the FTC lacks the teeth to impose a fine of any significance if they do decide to take the reigns.

    The actions of Ajit Pai will result in the most damage an American has ever done toward the progress of humanity.

    That will and has happened on a small scale with certain apps already. At first large cities will be insulated as there is actual competition so people would flee ISP's but everywhere else where there is little to no competition I could see this being a major issue day one. The big money play is forcing services either by throttling or redirecting traffic and that will happen if this passes as there is to much money in it for it not to.
    Reply
  • Spazzy
    The ISP's have a monopoly on almost every area they "service". If the FCC refuses to monitor and regulate the ISP's, they will continue to do what they always do. They will look out for themselves!!! As for Ajit Pai's statements;

    "It will spur broadband deployment throughout the country and thus bring better, faster Internet service to more Americans." This is utter non-sense! The US is sorely behind other country's in broadband. This is what happens when the ISP's are left to do as they wish!

    "It will create jobs by putting Americans to work deploying broadband networks and by creating the networks and online opportunities necessary for additional job growth and economic opportunity." Non-sense again, the recent growth was mainly pushed by Google. Google stopped because they believe wireless is the way to go, specifically 5G.

    "It will boost competition and choice in the broadband marketplace." How, most US citizens have two choices for internet service do to ISP monopolies; One broad band, and one not so broadband. How does this foster competition?

    "It will secure online privacy by putting the FTC—the nation’s premier consumer protection agency—back in charge of broadband providers’ privacy practices." Seriously, the ISP's have created super cookies and other software to spy on their clients. Government over-site has only occasionally caught them in the act prior to Net Neutrality. What a ridiculous claim!

    "It will restore Internet Freedom by ending government micromanagement and returning to the bipartisan regulatory framework that worked well for decades." At least this statement is mostly true, although I would question how well it worked!

    WE NEED NET NEUTRALITY! Today's society relies on the internet, there needs to be over-site to insure fair play and equal access for all.

    Please take the time to contact the FCC and demand Net Neutrality remain in place. You can contact them at https://www.fcc.gov/ecfs/filings/express The preceding number is 17-108 or you can type in Restoring Internet Freedom Proceeding.
    Reply
  • Rich_26
    No no no. We can't have an FCC that lies. Seriously, this has got to stop.
    Reply
  • shrapnel_indie
    19670302 said:
    "It will secure online privacy by putting the FTC—the nation’s premier consumer protection agency—back in charge of broadband providers’ privacy practices." Seriously, the ISP's have created super cookies and other software to spy on their clients. Government over-site has only occasionally caught them in the act prior to Net Neutrality. What a ridiculous claim!

    "It will restore Internet Freedom by ending government micromanagement and returning to the bipartisan regulatory framework that worked well for decades." At least this statement is mostly true, although I would question how well it worked!

    So, let me get this right... You say that the FTC can't do it, Their oversight isn't enough to do a good job pf policing to keep privacy. So, the FCC, another government agency with just about as much red tape as the FTC is going to do a better job? Seriously?

    Micro-management of the internet involves little, if any privacy. Micro management places, in this case, the Government, which you already stated with its oversight hasn't been able to do much (i.e catch offenders)... Oh wait, for them to micro-manage they have to be into everybody's business in detail. That's not neutrality. That's not enforcing any rights to privacy.

    Reply