By Aldwin Quitasol
From February 8 to 11, 2019, the official website of the National Union of Journalist of the Philippines (NUJP) has been the subject of attacks from a group believed to be supporters of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte.
According to the NUJP National Directorate, the website was swamped by DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks on February 8, making it briefly unavailable twice during the day. The NUJP was able to fend off the said attack and the website was restored.
DDoS is a malicious form of cyber-attack that aims to overload a targeted machine hosting a particular website.
On February 11, the NUJP website was again taken down by a succession of DDoS attacks during the early part of the day.
“The DDoS displayed the same characteristics as the earlier attack that shut down our site twice last Friday,” NUJP stated.
The DDoS attacks were launched from 8 to 10 in the morning of Monday. Although the digital security auditors of NUJP website managed to restore the site immediately in the morning of February 11, another batch of access requests was recorded mid-afternoon, shutting the site for the second time. The website was back online at 4:15 p.m.
NUJP revealed that based on the initial report of its security auditors, the attackers’ most requested URL path is https://nujp.org/?s=duterte, a page that appears when the keyword “Duterte” is searched on the website.
“We strongly believe this is part of an orchestrated campaign to silence critical outfits and organizations. They have also targeted alternative news that are affiliated with us such as Bulatlat, Kodao Productions, AlterMidya and its latest target, Pinoy Weekly. Aside from the DDoS attacks, all these organizations, including the NUJP, have also been subjected to red-tagging,” NUJP stated.
The cyber-attacks on Bulatlat.com started in December 26 last year then resumed on January 19, 2019. The DDoS attacks also had the keywords “Duterte” and “XD” .