“These attacks only benefit those who want to silence us and our human rights work amid a pervasive state of impunity in the country.”
By ANNE MARXZE D. UMIL
MANILA – The website of human rights group Karapatan is being attacked, Sweden-based forensics experts revealed.
In its August 18 report, Qurium noted that the cyberattacks against the group’s website, in the form of distributed denial of service (DDoS), started on July 29, coinciding with the #StopTheKillingsPH online campaign led by Karapatan.
The campaign, participated by different groups and advocates here and abroad, reiterates the call to stop the killings in the Philippines and to prosecute President Rodrigo Duterte for his crimes against the Filipino people. It also marked the first year of the killing of human rights defenders Zara Alvarez and Randall Echanis.
In a statement, Cristina Palabay, secretary general of Karapatan, called the series of attacks on their website cowardly.
“It was obviously made to prevent the public from accessing our reports on the worsening state of human rights in the Philippines — and we know whose interests these attacks serve,” Palabay said.
Karapatan said that according to Qurium, “the attacks were composed of application layer web floods, a type of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS), specifically against karapatan.org/resources, which contains the directory of Karapatan’s periodical monitors, year-end reports, policy position papers, and other public resources.”
“Specifically targeting Karapatan’s online resources only means that these attacks were clearly trying to suppress our documentation and human rights work, and of course, the people’s right to freedom of information,” Palabay said.
Qurium said that on July 29, after a one-minute attack on Karapatan’s website, “the attacker set up a monitoring using the online service ‘check-host’ for the specific URL, https://www.karapatan.org/resources, and then launches a second and long lasting attack.”
?Human rights alliance @Karapatan is under long lasting DDoS attacks since 29th of July. Read our findings about the infrastructure currently used for the attacks https://t.co/RamDc61TEp #StoptheKillingsPH pic.twitter.com/Qiszx8lnca
— Qurium Media (@Qur1um) August 18, 2021
Qurium said that the geographical distribution of the bots (an application that automatically runs pre-programmed tasks over the internet) that flooded Karapatan’s website is global. However, they noted that almost half of the bots were traced from Russia, Ukraine, Indonesia and China.
Karapatan, as well as alternative media outfits Altermidya and Bulatlat, were also subjected to cyberattacks last May and June this year. Qurium traced these attacks to the Office of the Assistant Chief of Staff for Intelligence of the Philippine Army, as well as the Department of Science and Technology.
Qurium first documented the first series of DDoS cyber attacks against Karapatan’s website on Dec. 28, 2018, lasting until Jan. 20, 2019.
“These attacks only benefit those who want to silence us and our human rights work amid a pervasive state of impunity in the country. We thank our friends from Qurium for documenting these attacks as we seek further investigations on the perpetrators of such attacks,” Palabay said.
Featured image by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash