FCC hit with DDoS attacks after John Oliver takes on net neutrality

The agency's website slowed to a crawl late Sunday and early Monday

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission's website slowed to a crawl after comic and political commentator John Oliver urged viewers to flood the agency with comments in support of net neutrality, in what appeared to be a repeat of a 2014 incident.

With the FCC headed toward a repeal of net neutrality rules it passed in early 2015, Oliver on Sunday echoed his "Last Week Tonight" commentary on the topic from three years ago. (Note to viewers: The link to Oliver's new diatribe is not safe for work.) As in 2014, the FCC's website seemed to buckle under the load late Sunday and early Monday, but the cause may have been more sinister than a flood of people expressing their support for net neutrality rules.

In this case, the FCC website was hit with a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks starting about midnight Eastern Time, FCC CIO David Bray said Monday.

"These were deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC's comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host," Bray said in an emailed statement. "These actors were not attempting to file comments themselves; rather they made it difficult for legitimate commenters to access and file with the FCC."

The DDoS attacks "tied up the servers and prevented them from responding to people attempting to submit comments," he said.

An FCC spokesman declined to speculate on the motivation for the DDoS attacks. If they were inspired by Oliver's commentary, they acted against its purpose. The attacks would have prevented net neutrality supporters from filing comments.

"Once again, net neutrality is in trouble," Oliver said Sunday night. "It seems, once more, we the people must take this matter into our own hands. Every internet group needs to come together like you successfully did three years ago.

Before its 2015 vote to impose net neutrality rules, the FCC received 4 million public comments on the issue, with a large majority supporting strong regulations.

Broadband providers and many Republicans oppose the net neutrality rules, saying they have slowed broadband investment and created unnecessary regulations. Some opponents of the 2015 version of the rules have pointed to small decreases in broadband investment in 2015 and 2016, but it's unclear how much impact the rules had.

As of Monday afternoon, Oliver's commentary had been viewed more than 900,000 times on YouTube.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Grant Gross

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?