Cyberattack, not HBO comedian, caused website wipeout, says FCC
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Late Sunday night and Monday morning, the website of the United States (FCC) became unresponsive, which interfered with attempts by the public to express their views on the proposals currently up for comment, including one about . Although comedian on his show had asked his viewers to inundate the website with comments supporting Net Neutrality, the FCC says a DDoS ( ) cyberattack, not angry fans, are responsible for their website's issues.
FCC Chief Information Officer David Bray explained in a formal statement that FCC.gov's problems did not come from a large volume of complaints and comments, which is what Oliver had asked his fans to make, but from sabotage. "These actors were not attempting to file comments themselves; rather they made it difficult for legitimate commenters to access and file with the FCC," said Bray.
Net Neutrality is the idea that Internet providers should not be allowed to speed up or slow down access to certain websites, which would presumably be done for payment. In 2014, the U.S. government ruled Internet providers must be held to standards similar to those of telephone companies and changed their legal classification to fall under Title II of the, which gave the FCC the legal authority to order them not to give preferential treatment to high-paying customers.
In response to a previous Net Neutrality proposal in 2014, John Oliver did a segment on the fifth episode of Last Week Tonight explaining the difference between Title I and Title II status and asking his viewers to flood the FCC's websites with comments supporting regulation. Approximately 4 million did so, and the website crashed. Sunday night, Oliver asked the public to repeat the performance, recommending comments to make and providing a single link to take them to the exact part of FCC.gov required: "America needs you to rise — or more accurately, remain seated in front of your computer screen — to this occasion," said Oliver on the air. "So please, fly my pretties, fly once more!" Again, the FCC website soon suffered problems.
Despite Sunday night's issues, the FCC still received tens of thousands of comments on the proposed relaxing of the 2014 regulations, which is up for a vote on May 18.
- "FCC website 'targeted by attack' after John Oliver comments" — , May 9, 2017
- Chaim Gartenberg. "John Oliver pleads with viewers to revive net neutrality fight" — , May 8, 2017
- Hayley Tsukayama. "The FCC says an attack — not John Oliver — hampered its website" — , May 8, 2017
- Melissa Locker. "John Oliver Wants You to Flood the FCC Website to Save Net Neutrality, Again" — , May 8, 2017
- Melissah Yang. "John Oliver tackles net neutrality again, encourages viewers to 'go FCC yourself'" — , May 8, 2017
- Jose Pagliery. "FCC adopts historic Internet rules" — , February 25, 2015
- Net Neutrality II: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)" — , May 7, 2017