Feeds

Tribal rights charity weathers DDoS assault

Torture footage provokes deluge

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

Updated The publication of footage of Indonesian soldiers torturing native Papuans appears to provoked a denial of service attack on the websites of development charities who hosted it.

The websites of Survival International and at least five other organisations who work in West Papua were all floored by the attack, which started at around 5pm on Wednesday and increased in severity over the evening. Survival's site is currently back up even though the assault remains ongoing.

The assault came a week after Survival published the Indonesian torture footage, and around a month after the charity called for tourists to boycott Botswana over its alleged persecution of the Kalahari Bushmen.

Survival reckons authorities in either Botswana or Indonesia, or their allies, are responsible for the flood of spurious traffic that has impaired its website operations.

Other human rights and development charities that hosted the Papuan torture video have also had their websites attacked including Friends of People Close To Nature, West Papua Media Alerts, Asian Human Rights Commission, Free West Papua Campaign and West Papua Unite. This factor, plus the comparative wealth of hacking expertise in Indonesia compared to Botswana, strongly suggest (to El Reg at least) east Indies origins for the attack.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry said: ‘This isn’t a couple of geeks in a shed, it’s an expensive and sophisticated attack amounting to cyberterrorism.

"The damage to Survival International may be substantial but is of course nothing compared to that inflicted on West Papuan tribes or Botswana’s Bushmen," he added.

Survival's charge is that governments are using denial of service attacks as a mechanism to silence critics, a practice used during Russia's conflict with Georgia two years ago and on a more continuous basis against Tibetan support groups.

Jose Nazario, senior manager of security research at DDoS mitigation firm Arbor Networks, said cyber-attacks against charities and non-government organisations is growing.

"This pattern of someone defending the government against NGO organizations making accusations is not uncommon," Nazario said. "It's happened in that part of the world for some time."

"We don't know who is behind and it I'm wary of accusing anyone," he added.

More on Survival International's reaction to the attacks can be found in an article on its website here. ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
Early result from Scots indyref vote? NAW, Jimmy - it's a SCAM
Anyone claiming to know before tomorrow is telling porkies
TOR users become FBI's No.1 hacking target after legal power grab
Be afeared, me hearties, these scoundrels be spying our signals
Jihadi terrorists DIDN'T encrypt their comms 'cos of Snowden leaks
Intel bods' analysis concludes 'no significant change' after whistle was blown
Home Depot: 56 million bank cards pwned by malware in our tills
That's about 50 per cent bigger than the Target tills mega-hack
Hackers pop Brazil newspaper to root home routers
Step One: try default passwords. Step Two: Repeat Step One until success
NORKS ban Wi-Fi and satellite internet at embassies
Crackdown on tardy diplomatic sysadmins providing accidental unfiltered internet access
UK.gov lobs another fistful of change at SME infosec nightmares
Senior Lib Dem in 'trying to be relevant' shocker. It's only taxpayers' money, after all
Critical Adobe Reader and Acrobat patches FINALLY make it out
Eight vulns healed, including XSS and DoS paths
Spies would need SUPER POWERS to tap undersea cables
Why mess with armoured 10kV cables when land-based, and legal, snoop tools are easier?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.