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Loyalist activists often behind efforts to silence web sites

DDoS attacks on human rights sites on the rise

Denial of service cyber attacks against political activist and human rights groups web sites are on the increase according to new research from Harvard University.

The research effort found that around 140 distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks were carried out against nearly 300 web sites. The group pointed towards increasing trends of activist groups to employ cyberwarfare to attack their opponents.

One example given was the “Help Israel Win” group which invited supporters to install a software program which would allow the organisation to use that company to launch DDoS attacks on opponents, in this case Palestinian-friendly web sites.

The rise of DDoS as a technique for silencing human rights and independent media sites is the symptom of a larger problem: the shortage of technical talent in administering these websites and the increasing isolation of the websites from the core of the network,” said the researchers.

“There is no simple technical solution to this problem. Moving to dedicated DDoS-resistant hosting leaves serious vulnerabilities open, like keylogging software targeted specifically to site administrators. We cannot consider DDoS alone, rather, we need to approach IT security for human rights and independent media sites as a whole.”

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