DDoS attack targets CNN Philippines as it hosts presidential debate

DDoS attack targets CNN Philippines as it hosts presidential debate
Artist's rendition of cyber security hack
Image by Darwin Laganzon from Pixabay

MANILA, Philippines — The website of CNN Philippines was hit with a cyber attack on Sunday as the network held a presidential debate ahead of the crucial May polls.

As of 8:08 p.m., the website of CNN Philippines remains inaccesible.

"Our developers have confirmed that the website is experiencing a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack," it said in an advisory Sunday night.

"We would to assure everyone that we are working to get the site up and running as soon as possible."

On February 23, more than 20 newsrooms and websites signed a joint statement organized by #FactsFirstPH calling for goverment agencies to look into the attacks,

"Whoever is behind these attacks should be exposed and made accountable. These are clearly attacks against telecommunications and other related assets, deemed as critical infrastructures so vital to the Republic of the Philippines that their incapacity would have a detrimental impact on national security and the people. The message is clear. We, the journalists, are being targeted to forbid and disempower us from doing our work," they said

Last week, Bayan Muna lawmakers called on the House of Representatives’ information and communications technology panel to conduct an investigation into the increasingly frequent DDoS attacks on websites of news outlets including Philstar.com, CNN Philippines and Rappler.

The sites of ONE News GMA News, ABS-CBN News and VERA Files have been targeted by cyber attacks. Alternative media websites Bulatlat, Kodao Production and AlterMinday have also been attacked.

DDoS attacks overwhelm website traffic to the point of it crashing. This is punishable under the E-Commerce Law by a fine of at least P100,000 and imprisonment of from six months to three years.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Altermidya, Bulatlat, Kodao and Rappler earlier called on the Department of Information and Communications Technology and the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate and stop the cyberattacks, and identify and hold the perpetrators accountable.

Nine presidential candidates are squaring off during the CNN Philippines' debates. Survey frontrunner Bongbong Marcos Jr., the son and namesake of the late dictator, declined to participate in the event. — Gaea Katreena Cabico with a report from Xave Gregorio

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