October 4, 2016 Last Updated 6:54 am

DDoS wars continue, TNM and PoliMedia fight to stay online

Daily hackers have been taking down our websites, a situation that is more a hassle than anything else, but a situation experienced by an increasing number of digital publishers

The war against hackers continue as both Talking New Media and PoliMedia.press continue to be taken down by hackers intent on silencing the websites. Honestly, I don’t understand why they are bothering. I guess they don’t like want is being written on the sites.

And what is being written? Well, here at TNM I have bought up the issue of comment spam – more specifically, the kind of comment spam that comes from foreign agents masquerading as voters. They fill the comment threads of places like The Washington Post and The Guardian. They turn normal discussions of political events into verbal race wars, and try to give the impression that your average American is a bigoted fool.

At PoliMedia.press the problem is likely any story that shows the state of the US election.

Both websites have tried to remain nonpartisan, though I admit that is hard when one side has hackers on their side.

These two sites will try to stay online – though, to be honest, I am not optimistic.

Just a couple of days ago David Gilbert of Vice News wrote about these new cyber attacks:

Hackers are exploiting serious vulnerabilities in the security of the billions of connected devices collectively known as the Internet of Things, and building zombie armies capable of knocking any target offline, threatening free speech and the internet economy.

Over the past week Brian Krebs, an independent journalist who investigates the shady world of cybercrime and the dark net, has seen his website hit with one of the largest attacks in the history of the internet, carried out by a botnet of compromised CCTV cameras — which some experts see as a harbinger of things to come.

“I don’t know what it will take to wake the larger internet community out of its slumber to address this growing threat to free speech and e-commerce,” Krebs says. “My guess is it will take an attack that endangers human lives, shuts down critical national infrastructure systems, or disrupts national elections.”

Krebs is in some ways a victim of his own success. The former Washington Post journalist has become the scourge of some of the most powerful cybercriminals in the world through his investigative reporting on his Krebs on Security blog.

These cyber attacks are a direct threat to freedom of speech and of the press.

The subject came up in the first presidential debate.

When Hillary Clinton was asked about cyber attacks she said:

“Well, I think cyber security, cyber warfare will be one of the biggest challenges facing the next president, because clearly we’re facing at this point two different kinds of adversaries. There are the independent hacking groups that do it mostly for commercial reasons to try to steal information that they can use to make money.

“But increasingly, we are seeing cyber attacks coming from states, organs of states. The most recent and troubling of these has been Russia. There’s no doubt now that Russia has used cyber attacks against all kinds of organizations in our country, and I am deeply concerned about this. I know Donald’s very praiseworthy of Vladimir Putin, but Putin is playing a really tough, long game here.”

Donald Trump responded to previous comments made by Clinton on other subjects before addressing the question:

“As far as the cyber, I agree to parts of what Secretary Clinton said. We should be better than anybody else, and perhaps we’re not. I don’t think anybody knows it was Russia that broke into the DNC. She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia, but I don’t — maybe it was. I mean, it could be Russia, but it could also be China. It could also be lots of other people. It also could be somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds, OK?”

There you have it… and the wars go on.

Home page photo: Hacking by Johan Viirok used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic.

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