VERA Files overcomes cyberattack

(UPDATED) They came from all over the world like a swarm of locusts attempting to overwhelm their target.

VERA Files detected a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS) attack on its server at 5:47 a.m., Philippine time, on Dec. 16 (9:47 p.m., Dec. 15 GMT).

A DDoS attack is an attempt to overwhelm a website through repeated automated requests for data from multiple sources.

The VERA Files site is back even as the attack has not completely stopped.

Report from Deflect, a website security service, said it recorded “almost 4,000 of unique IP addresses issued more than 70 million“ requests against VERA Files. The top 15 origins of the IP addresses were United States, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia, Germany, India, Colombia, Argentina, Thailand, Bangladesh, Luxembourg, Ukraine, France, Mexico, and Netherlands. Others came from “unknown” locations.

Deflect, however, said, “Many of the IP were proxies possible…. As it does not seem like attackers were using their own infrastructure/devices to perform DDoS. At least they proxies their traffic with different techniques.”

Deflect said it is very hard to tell which exact article “pulled the trigger,” but it observed “some activity around” the web addresses of articles about the last-minute lobbying of different groups on a legislation on electronic cigarettes; a fact-check item about a false news involving Laoag City Mayor Michael Marcos Keon, a relative of presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.; and, another fact-check on a satire post about a Bongbong Marcos-Sara Duterte caravan.

On the evening of Dec. 15, the website of online news organization Rappler also reported a DDoS attack.

Last week, ABS-CBN online was also subjected to a DDoS attack.

UPDATE: The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP), in a statement on Dec. 17, condemned these recent attacks against media organizations and called on government agencies to “investigate and stop these attacks.”

Read the full statement: