Halloween at Asia Sentinel

At about 10 pm on Oct. 30, Asia Sentinel was hit by a DDOS attack – distributed denial of service – that took the site down intermittently as technicians struggled with the problem for about 10 hours.

A DDOS attack is designed to flood the target’s servers with so many hits that it overwhelms the servers and paralyzes the site. In general, thanks to the explanation by Wikipedia, they are designed to either forcing the targeted computer to reset or consume its resources to so that it can no longer provide its intended service, or to obstruct the communication media between the intended users and the victim so that they can no longer communicate adequately.

A long list of major corporations, banks, news organizations and government offices such as the CIA and the FBI have been hit by DDOS attacks. It appears someone doesn’t like Asia Sentinel’s brand of journalism. It is impossible to tell where the attacks came from. It appears to have been a relatively sophisticated operation, with the hits routed through 192 servers, mostly concentrated in China and Malaysia, although they ranged from across the world, as far as Ukraine, Chicago and Seattle in the US, Singapore, New Guinea, Russia and many other locations.

The principal story that was attacked was connected to the Altantuya Shaariibuu murder case in Malaysia, which received 68,000 unique visits. However, another story, on the flight of nearly US$4 trillion in illicit capital from China could have triggered Beijing’s anger. Asia Sentinel does plenty of journalism that tells the truth about situations governments and individuals don’t like.

Denial-of-service attacks are considered violations of the Internet Architecture Board’s Internet proper use policy, and violate the acceptable use policies of virtually all Internet service providers. They also commonly constitute violations of the laws of individual nations.