Reason Roundup

FCC Fabricated DDoS Attack During Net-Neutrality Fight: Reason Roundup

Plus: Internet companies cancel Alex Jones and Trump is "asking for WORLD PEACE, nothing less!"


hacker image: J.B Nicholas / Splash News/Newscom; Bray headshot from FCC; screenshot from Last Week Tonight

No net-neutrality rooted attack on FCC servers. For a second time, David Bray, former chief information officer for the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), seems to have been caught fabricating stories about distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS) on FCC servers. Bray's most recent fable came in May 2017, as John Oliver of HBO's Last Week Tonight was asking viewers to flood FCC comments with support for "net neutrality" legislation, and is the subject of an upcoming Office of Inspector General's report.

"Bray had previously leaked baseless claims that the FCC was struck by a cyberattack in 2014," Gizmodo discovered.

The inspector general's report has not yet been made public, but FCC Chairman Ajit Pai and Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel have both commented on its contents.

"The Inspector General Report tells us what we knew all along: the FCC's claim that it was the victim of a DDoS attack during the net neutrality proceeding is bogus," said Rosenworcel. Here's her spin:

What happened instead is obvious—millions of Americans overwhelmed our online system because they wanted to tell us how important internet openness is to them and how distressed they were to see the FCC roll back their rights.

And here's Pai's:

With respect to the report's findings, I am deeply disappointed that the FCC's former Chief Information Officer (CIO), who was hired by the prior Administration and is no longer with the Commission, provided inaccurate information about this incident to me, my office, Congress, and the American people. This is completely unacceptable.

"On the other hand," Pai continued,

I'm pleased that this report debunks the conspiracy theory that my office or I had any knowledge that the information provided by the former CIO was inaccurate and was allowing that inaccurate information to be disseminated for political purposes. Indeed, as the report documents, on the morning of May 8, it was the former CIO who informed my office that 'some external folks attempted to send high traffic in an attempt to tie-up the server from responding to others, which unfortunately makes it appear unavailable to everyone attempting to get through the queue.' In response, the Commission's Chief of Staff, who works in my office, asked if the then-CIO was confident that the incident wasn't caused by a number of individuals 'attempting to comment at the same time . . . but rather some external folks deliberately trying to tie-up the server.' In response to this direct inquiry, the former CIO told my office: 'Yes, we're 99.9% confident this was external folks deliberately trying to tie-up the server to prevent others from commenting and/or create a spectacle.'


Internet companies cancel Alex Jones. On Monday, Facebook permanently banned the Jones-helmed website Infowars from the platform, YouTube removed all Infowars videos, and Apple deleted all Infowars podcasts from its store. A few perspectives…


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