Update on PetitionOnline outage, Friday, 2009.0612

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Update on PetitionOnline outage, Friday, 2009.0612

Postby Kevin » Fri Jun 12, 2009 9:19 pm

As of Friday afternoon, June 12, 2009, according to technical staff at our server center, the PetitionOnline.com web site operated as a public service by Artifice, Inc. has been inaccessible for about 10 hours, so far, due to a sophisticated distributed denial of service (DoS) attack.

PetitionOnline is a busy site, with a top-5000 Quantcast rating, a four-digit Alexa rank, and millions of unique monthly visitors. At any given time, tens of thousands of petitions are active on the site, and 30,000 or more signatures are collected on a typical day.

As long as site communications are blocked by the ongoing attack, we don't have a really good way to communicate with the huge community of users at PetitionOnline, so I'm posting this message here for those who may find it, Google willing.

We appreciate the calls and emails of concern and support we have received today from many site users.

Note that this DoS attack consists of blocking off communication from out on the Internet to the PetitionOnline site. The attack is entirely external to the PetitionOnline web server itself. None of the recorded petition signatures, or other stored data, is in danger from this attack.

Denial of service attacks are a form of computer crime. Laws regulating these attacks vary from nation to nation, but in the UK, for instance, they are punishable by up to ten years in prison.

Some general information on DoS attacks is available at Wikipedia:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denial-of-service_attack

We will post additional information here from time to time as it becomes available.
Last edited by Kevin on Tue Jun 16, 2009 6:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Kevin » Sat Jun 13, 2009 3:42 pm

Here's a recent example of a criminal indictment over a DDoS attack in the US...

http://losangeles.fbi.gov/dojpressrel/p ... 208usa.htm

And an example of a U.S. citizen doing real jail time for such an attack...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rizon
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Petition Online - update

Postby Adrian22 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 3:48 pm

Thanks, Kevin.

Is there any further word on the Petition Online situation? Seems the petition sites are still inaccessible. Is there anywhere online to look for updates, or, is this the place?

cheers, Adrian
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Postby Kevin » Mon Jun 15, 2009 4:30 pm

It's Monday now. PetitionOnline has been continuously inaccessible for more than 72 hours due to a large distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, as diagnosed by Verio technical staff, after nearly ten years without an outage a fraction of this length.

The current DDoS attack on PetitionOnline seems to have progressed far beyond the prank stage. Given the nature of PetitionOnline related to grassroots advocacy, there is a good chance there is some kind of political motive behind this massive and anonymous attack. An alternative hypothesis would be commericial sabotage from a site competition, as in the cases detailed in the links posted above.

We are unwilling to sit on our hands while PetitionOnline is sabotaged, watching the ernest causes of tens of thousands of petition authors be damaged, as well as the site reputation built up over nearly ten years of faithful service.

Technically speaking, these state-of-the-art DDoS attacks are perhaps the hardest form of Internet sabotage to respond to. The flood of disabling traffic comes from thousands of unknowing zombie computers, using falsified and constantly changing addresses to prevent trace-backs.

We are continuing to escalate our own responses on both the technical and legal fronts, and we will continue to escalate until a solution is reached.

In the meantime, thanks for all the support we've received from the many site authors and participants who have contacted us. We appreciate it so much, and need it now more than ever.

We'll continue to use this forum thread to share the latest information we have available.

You can help by spreading this link...
http://www.designcommunity.com/forums/v ... hp?t=28380

...and sharing the facts on this forced outage at PetitionOnline.
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pr/news services online can help

Postby Adrian222 » Mon Jun 15, 2009 7:41 pm

Ok, I shall spread this word to people I know wanting to sign a petition currently silenced.

Another thing - we all can do - is post word to the various, and often free, pr and news services online. Several of these also get their content picked up by Google news and others.

So, PetitionOnline can send out your official word, and reach a mass audience easily. And, each individual petition organizer can also send out word internationally, and let their own constituents, as well as any and all concerned parties.

This way, more people can be in the loop - and quickly.

Best wishes for resolving the attack/problem.
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PetitionOnline site is back up at the moment!

Postby Kevin » Mon Jun 15, 2009 8:39 pm

As of this moment, the PetitionOnline site is back up. The attack could restart - we still don't know who or what was behind it.

Please let your people know, as a petition author get any info you need for the moment while you can, and good luck with all your petitions!

- K
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Postby Kevin » Mon Jun 15, 2009 9:08 pm

And the attack did restart, after PetitionOnline was accessible for just about one hour. Inaccessible again now, !@#$%^&*

So... please keep spreading the word about the outage. A good third party news release appeared here:
http://www.pr-inside.com/petitiononline ... 323871.htm
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Postby Kevin » Tue Jun 16, 2009 1:33 pm

We've posted a new update on the unfolding situation here:

http://www.designcommunity.com/forums/v ... hp?t=28417
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Re: Update on PetitionOnline outage, Friday, 2009.0612

Postby swayalign » Thu Jul 14, 2011 4:55 pm

I just bought this up in another older thread, and my intention is not to be bumping these threads as I know they are old.. The only thing I want to do is to reiterate that we need to be very rigorous in security. This forum for example is probably at less risk than petition online was, but how are we protecting ourselves. It is overwhelming how often we have to refer to world events when talking about the world of architecture. I don't want to make the wrong person mad.
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