The FCC still hasn’t provided any evidence it was hit by an alleged DDoS attack, but senators hope the FBI will.
Here’s a breakdown of that alphabet soup we just served. In the first week of May, the Federal Communications Commission’s website went down after an epic net neutrality rant from “Last Week Tonight” host John Oliver encouraged viewers to flood the page with visits and comments. He pulled a similar stunt in 2014, and yep, also temporarily shut down the website.
Except this time, the FCC said Oliver had no influence on the outage. The FCC said it was actually the victim of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack around the exact same time that “Last Week Tonight” aired.
“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,” the FCC said in a statement in May. However, the FCC has since declined to publish any evidence showing it was a DDoS attack that crashed the site and not viewers angry over the agency’s actions against net neutrality.
Ajit Pai, who President Donald Trump appointed chairman of the FCC in January, aims to undo net neutrality regulations that became law during the Obama administration. This has opened the issue up for debate all over again.
Security experts have criticized the FCC’s claim, expressing skepticism over the alleged DDoS attack. Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Brian Schatz of Hawaii have also demanded answers from the FCC, but haven’t received responses.
On Wednesday, the two senators were joined by Democratic Sens. Al Franken of Minnesota, Patrick Leahy of Vermont and Edward Markey of Massachusetts, with hopes that the FBI can find some answers.
In a letter to the acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, the senators asked the agency to investigate if a DDoS attack happened, and if so, where it came from. The letter said the FCC has released “little information to date about the reported attacks.”
“This particular attack may have denied the American people the opportunity to contribute to what is supposed to be a fair and transparent process, which in turn may call into question the integrity of the FCC’s rulemaking proceedings,” the senators wrote in their letter.
The senators hope to receive more details on the FBI’s investigation by June 23. The FCC declined to comment.
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