May First/People Link server hit with DoS attack

Evidence attack was aimed at Palestine rights organisations

May First/People Link is a membership organisation dedicated to the defense of the internet and the sharing, among its members, of website and email resources, and joined APC as a member in 2013. It is comprised of 850 organisations and individuals in the United States and Mexico and is one of the largest politically progressive organisations in the US.

A denial of service (DoS) attack against websites on the May First/People Link (MF/PL) servers saturated our upstream internet connection and almost completely shut down all the organisations membership websites for nearly three hours.

While affecting more than half of MF/PL’s members’ operations, the attack was apparently aimed at two member organisations that work for Palestinian rights. Both sites are now running normally.

The attack began at about 6:00 am (US Eastern) on Monday, 18 August and was resisted by MF/PL technologists who restored service by 8:45 am. to all servers. The target sites were brought back online about an hour after that.

A DoS attack floods an internet server with requests for site pages or useless connections at an extremely rapid rate, forcing the servers to surpass their normal capability for serving pages. Servers that reach this state shut down or greatly curtail service and that is what happened this morning.

There were no communications connected to the DoS attack but the specifics of the attack strongly indicate that one or both of the sites were the targets and MF/PL leaders today indicated that the timing makes them completely sure this is the case.

“Given the recent events in Gaza, we had expected some response of this type,” MF/PL Leadership Committee member Alfredo López said. “Our position is as it has always been: people, particularly oppressed and attacked people like Palestinians, have the absolute right to communicate with the entire world. That’s a position the world takes particularly given the vicious, near-genocidal attacks on Gaza. The borders, fences and walls that imprison the people in Gaza do not exist on the internet; we are here to make sure that continues.”