The Jewish Chronicle was hit by a massive denial-of-service (DoS) attack on Monday.
Following the Gaza flotilla incident on Monday, a column in the Spectator claimed that the website of the paper was down following ‘a massive denial-of-service, apparently to shut down its balanced coverage of the Ashdod flotilla incident'.
Speaking to SC Magazine, Richard Burton, managing editor of the Jewish Chronicle, confirmed that this did occur and happens often. He said: “We are a target and it is part of our security policy that we understand people want to stop the Jewish voice. It was probably an attempt to silence us on a controversial subject.
“It is usual for us, we have been hacked before and this is a DoS where a lot of IP addresses are hitting our servers at one time. The techies were trying to detect the IP domains and trying to find common denominators.”
He further explained that the website does not get much traffic on a Saturday, but on a Sunday it gets traffic from the Jewish community and a much wider readership. Burton said: “It is a PR disaster for Israel, but we are not a mouthpiece for the Israeli government as we are critical of them, and our editor has said that there are two sides to it.”
Commenting, Paul Bristow, chief operating officer of Webscreen Technology, said that the attack came as no surprise to him, as they have moved on to become the method of choice for disabling online competitors and in the past few years, geo-political usage of DDoS has become more and more prominent.
He said: “It is clear if you run any online news service that makes comments that someone/anyone is potentially going to take offence to, then it's only a matter of time before you get 'DDoS'd'.”
He recommended getting some dedicated DDoS mitigation technology (not some bolt-on feature on a IPS/IDS appliance) to make sure upstream bandwidth has enough ‘burstable capacity' to soak up an attack that is at least a 1GB in size, and the greater the ‘burstable capacity' the better.
He said: “Then you monitor and proactively manage your traffic data, this is far more challenging for news services because in theory they are open to traffic from all around the world whereas commercial sites typically only see legitimate traffic from certain geographic zones.”