You have read over the past several days that an unknown person or group has decided to try to silence the independent advocacy journalism espoused and practiced here at Firedoglake by launching DDoS attacks that bring the site down. You’ve read posts by several FDL’ers that describe all of the ways FDL is meaningful to its readers. You’ve read Jane and Elliott and Dakine and Kit and probably others I’ve neglected to mention on the subject of why FDL deserves your support. I’m going to take another approach. This makes me mad as hell, and I don’t want us to take it any more! These anonymous cowards cannot be allowed to prevail. It is just that simple.
A Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack is an attempt to make an online service unavailable by overwhelming it with traffic from multiple sources. They target a wide variety of important resources, from banks to news websites, and present a major challenge to making sure people can publish and access important information.
Conceptually DDoS is like a group of graduating seniors as a “senior prank” ordering a pizza from every pizza joint within a 10 mile radius, specifying delivery to one of their less beloved teachers at the same time. The result is a huge traffic jam of pizza delivery vehicles arriving in the teacher’s neighborhood, clogging streets and preventing even police or fire emergency responders from access. The teacher has no idea who ordered the pizzas or why, and has no way to stop the deliveries because the orders came from different people at different locations. It’s not only a dirty trick, it’s cowardly because it is anonymous and uncaring of the results.
DDoS attackers can create networks of infected computers, known as botnets, by distributing malicious software through websites, emails, and social media. Once these computers are infected, the attackers often control them remotely without their owners’ awareness, and can deploy them like a stealth army to launch an attack against a target — such as FDL.
And it doesn’t require much more effort than ordering pizzas. Special online marketplaces exist to buy and sell either botnets or simply individual DDoS attacks. Using these underground markets, anyone can pay a nominal fee to silence websites they disagree with or disrupt an organization’s online operations. (Does this ring a bell here?) For example, at one of these marketplaces, a one-week DDoS attack that can take a small organization offline can cost an attacker as little as $150.
So FDL continues to incur significant expense to combat the DDoS attacks. Those who come to FDL to read and learn and engage are disenfranchised by these anonymous attackers. Ad revenue that helps support FDL dwindles because the ads aren’t visible if the site is down. The tech crew is working overtime.
To repurpose a phrase from the memorable film Network,
I want you to get up right now, sit up, go to your windows, open them and stick your head out and yell – ‘I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!’
And then march your anger right over to FDL and donate to keep FDL’s “independent adversarial journalism and compassionate community activism” strong, and fight the anonymous cowards who would rather take us down with sneak attacks than step up and engage in discussion and debate! They’re cowards. They want to silence us. They make me mad as hell. They should make YOU mad as hell too!