DDoS attacks have recently become the most powerful cyber weapon of governments to censor investigative journalists and take their websites offline.
A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is a malicious attempt to disrupt the normal traffic of a targeted server or network by overwhelming the target with a flood of Internet traffic.
Arms Watch, my investigative journalism platform, which documents war crimes, has constantly been the target of such cyber attacks. I have been using DDoS protection ever since my website was created. However, the last malicious attack has been so massive that it has taken my website down, with more than 53 million requests flooding my Internet traffic from different locations around the world, 17.7 million of which originating from the US.
On 31 October, I published the article: “US deploys private military contractors from Libya to Europe”.
#BREAKING At least 150 private military contractors have been transported to Europe on Pentagon-chartered flights over the last weeks, including from Benghazi, #Libya via #Malta to Sofia, #Bulgaria https://t.co/RDzNvLDSe9
— Dilyana Gaytandzhieva (@dgaytandzhieva) October 31, 2020
I continued working on this investigation and was about to publish a follow-up story when on 25 November my website was DDoS-ed and taken down.
On 7 December when the first DDoS attack finished I restored the international traffic to armswatch.com. My website was accessible for just few hours as a second massive DDoS attack started and my site was taken down again.
Arms Watch has been investigating the origin of the attack. We have requested information from the owner of one of the servers that have attacked us – the US company Wowrack.
Interestingly, the same IP has been reported 1,278 times for cyber attacks in France, Spain, Canada and Portugal since December 2018.
This IP has been reported for DDoS attacks by the Spanish company SoloLinux and for Web App Attacks by the French company RDMC. SoloLinux is a web-development company based in Spain. RDMC is a technology design company based in France. According to Wowrack, the server has been used by one of their clients – MOZ, USA. Their client’s explanation: “The IP does belong to us, and it is one of the Mozscape crawlers”, denying any wrongdoing.
How much does a DDoS attack cost? According to Dark Web Price Index 2020, the price of a DDoS attack against a Premium protected website, with 20-50k requests per second and multiple elite proxies is $200 per 24 hours. The price per month can reach $6,000.
Arms Watch has been under attack for a month now.
Attack on Free Speech: comments
Worth posting widely even though US once again shows its determination to block free speech and a free press. https://t.co/mjjFCxiiXI
— Paul Larudee (@larudee) December 10, 2020
This looks like it might be an important story but Dilyana’s armswatch website is not displaying …… https://t.co/ETsA2ie9sj
— rick sterling (@ricksterling99) December 10, 2020
Thank you to all Arms Watch followers for your retweets and support. Stories like this one can be censored by official government cyber centers but we cannot be silenced. Follow us on our Telegram channel using the link: https://t.me/armswatch