The Federal Communications Commission now claims to have no data on a DDoS attack that took down its website in May, just months after stating it had “gigabytes” of documentation on the incident. The supposed attack followed talk show host John Oliver redirecting viewers to the FCC’s comment section, where he encouraged them to complain about the organization’s stance on net neutrality. With over 9 million comments reportedly left on the site, the FCC quickly responded, stating that it couldn’t accept more feedback, because it was incapacitated by an alleged DDoS attack.
Now, after a freedom of information request filed by Gizmodo attempted to reveal more about the ‘attack,’ the FCC is claiming that its previous thorough analysis on the incident “did not result in written documentation.”
A total of 16 pages of information were released to Gizmodo, yet none of them helped to explain the supposed cyber attack which brought down the FFC site on May 8th. This gives more credibility to the theory that the site was actually taken down by the large influx of complaint traffic driven by John Oliver’s GoFCCyourself campaign.
Despite saying it has no documents on the incident, confusingly, the FCC then goes on to say that it can’t reveal what it does have due to fears of revealing “trade secrets”. It also states that it can’t reveal other information about the attack for fears of putting its employee’s personal data at risk. Once again, these contradictory statements suggest an FCC who is backpedaling thanks to a poor infrastructure on its website. With the FCC’s comment page initially made fairly hard to find, many critics are suggesting that the organization were actively trying to keep commenters away, leaving them completely unprepared for the slew of comments they’ve now had.
Either way, the lack of clarity surrounding this incident doesn’t look good for the FCC. With the company’s chairman Ajit Pai previously stating that he doesn’t care what people think about net neutrality, it looks like the concerns of nine million people will most likely not be taken into consideration as the FCC continues to go about its plans to rollback net neutrality. While Trump’s administration supports the FCC’s plans, many of America’s largest internet companies including Amazon and Facebook are staunchly opposed to the proposed ruling.