- The Federal Communications Commission suffered multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS) against its electronic comments filing system, said Dr. David Bray, FCC CIO, in a statement. The FCC is working with commercial service providers to address the attack, which began Sunday around midnight and extended into Monday.
- Early reports of the FCC's technical difficulties attributed the FCC website public comment outage to "heavy traffic." The outage occurred just after "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" aired a segment on net neutrality, where he encouraged internet commenters to direct their "indiscriminate rage in a useful direction," and comment on the FCC's website in support of maintaining current net neutrality rules.
- "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. While the attackers were not trying to file comments themselves, they made it difficult for others to legitimately access and file comments with the FCC. Though the agency's systems remained up and running, the "DDoS events tied up the servers and prevented them from responding" to people submitting comments.
Plot twist. What was first understood to be intense enthusiasm following a John Oliver segment turned out to be a cyberattack that halted the FCC's comment site, though motivations and those responsible are not yet known.
The contested net neutrality debate has pitted different parties against each other. On one hand, there are the telecom providers who control internet service. On the other side are companies that transfer large amounts of data and want to ensure that a slow lane of the internet is not established.
Tech firms have continued to lobby for the maintenance of current net neutrality rules, but the FCC chairman Ajit Pai is determined to "restore internet freedom" and "end the utility-style regulatory approach that gives government control of the internet." The FCC 120-day comment period for the regulation opened earlier this month.
Not all internet service providers are in favor of net neutrality, however. Both Cisco and Oracle support the roll back of current net neutrality rules. In a letter to the FCC, Oracle said the "stifling" open internet regulations and broadband classifications put in place in 2015 that represent current net neutrality rules "threw out both the technological consensus and the certainty needed for jobs and investment," Oracle said, according to The Hill.
Cisco also wants net neutrality rolled back because the current regulations limit its ability to use innovative network management technology and deliver new features to meet customer needs, according to a spokesperson, Fudzilla reports.