Alternative media groups denounce reported cyberattacks on their websites

Artist's rendition of cyber security hack
Image by Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay

MANILA, Philippines — Alternative media outlets on Tuesday decried a series of reported cyberattacks on their websites, which a group has traced to a government agency and the military.

Sweden-based Qurium in an alert said it received "brief but frequent denial attacks" in the past months on the pages of Bulatlat, AlterMidya, along with rights group Karapatan.

On May 18, it reported that a machine from the Department of Science and Technology ran a vulnerability scan against bulatlat.com

"The IP [address] seems to belong to the Philippine Research, Education, and Government Information Network,"  Qurium said.

It added that a closer look into the IP address and firewall also revealed an email address registered to the Philippine Army in Taguig.

Bulatlat in a statement said the findings confirm that the cyberattacks "are apparently politically-motivated and state-sponsored." 

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"We are not surprised by the results of the recent digital forensic," the media outlet said. "State agents and the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) have consistently labeled us as communist fronts for pursuing journalism for the people."

 

 

Officials of the government's anti-communist task force have repeatedly red-tagged individuals and institutions, including the media, as having ties to the armed communist movement. 

Allegations have remained as such with no actual proof presented, but those subject to red-tagging have had to face threats to their life, discrimination, or worse, ending up being killed.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines has since issued an alert on the reported incident.

Bulatlat added that they are angered that taxpayers' money are being used to attack their website and deny readers of their reports. 

It demanded too that the said government bodies stop the cyberattacks, and vowed to continue in their work.

"We will continue telling the truth from the perspective of the marginalized and oppressed," the outlet said. "We enjoin our colleagues in the Philippine media, and our audience to continue asserting press freedom."

AlterMidya also took to Twitter to denounce the cyberattack. It noted that the incident involving their website happened on June 16, after it released a story on the International Criminal COurt's probe into the Duterte administration's anti-illegal drug campaign.

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