Recovering from a Cyber-Attack

From Editor Robert Parry: Last week, we were told by IT experts that Consortiumnews was the apparent victim of a sophisticated “denial of service” attack that destroyed the site’s functionality by imposing so many commands on the system that it blocked us from updating content or restoring the site to a pre-attack status.

We have spent the past week – and thousands of dollars – recovering as much of our 20 years of content as possible and migrating to a new server where we had to essentially rebuild the site from scratch. It’s still not clear how much of our 20 years of work has been lost. We also will keep working to clear up a variety of glitches that remain.

It’s not clear who may have carried out this clever attack which apparently exploited a tiny flaw in our system, a spot where an older version of the Web site had been merged with a newer version. The encrypted malware was so subtle that it was missed by multiple virus scans and was only spotted by a tech examining the files manually.

But whoever was behind this attack, the ugly reality is that such assaults are the modern equivalent of mobs smashing the presses of old-time newspapers that challenged the status quo. In such cases, the goal was to silence dissent by raising the price for telling the truth.

Today, we find ourselves in what is sometimes called “information warfare,” an insidious concept in which powerful interests view critical facts as “enemy propaganda” that must be shut down. Though these interests already control much of the major media, they are remarkably sensitive to challenges from independent information sources.

By making information simply one battlefront in some ideological war, these forces justify attacks to silence sources of dissent that challenge the dominant official narratives. Cyber-attacking Web sites is just one tactic in that “war.” Shutting down contrary information, in turn, makes people easier to manipulate into actual wars and other costly adventures.

It is important that such intimidation not be successful.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com).

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28 comments for “Recovering from a Cyber-Attack

  1. Wade Riddick
    March 14, 2016 at 2:45 am

    Post the months/years that were deleted from your archives. Readers might be able to fill in some of you holes with old copies. You might be able to find them on Google too, provided you know the date and title.

  2. David Smith
    March 10, 2016 at 11:34 am

    Mr. Parry, such a vile, cowardly cyber attack must certainly feel disturbing, but you should feel honored by their attention. The petty, vicious hand has revealed itself, and it’s effect will only increase the loyalty of your supporters.

  3. Daniel
    March 9, 2016 at 10:53 pm

    We missed you, CN! Dirty tricks by the Empire, no doubt, keeping you down for a while.

  4. peter johnson
    March 9, 2016 at 10:31 pm

    I will donate soon, beyond my regular contributions. Consortium news is the best news site on the web.

  5. Evangelista
    March 8, 2016 at 9:53 pm

    Warfare against information, and information dispersal, has a long history. Caesar, Julius burned the library of Alexandria to eliminate records of knowledge contrary to his narrative, Caesar Claudius ordered assassination of Gaulic priests, the repositories of the oral tradition Rome sought to supercede with its own (Virgel was a re-writer of history), the monks of the middle-ages rewrote and replaced texts they transcribed, and destroyed ‘heretical’ ones, the Roman Christian church of the Crusades era (the last Crusades were European, against ‘heretics’, Albigens, Waldens, etc.), the European witchcraft trials were to destroy the older ‘Heathen’ religious order, which was anathema to the political-Christian one, the purpose of anti-masonry was to destroy ‘underground’ continuation of ‘heretical’ “truths” (beliefs), in the 20th century fascism and communism suppressed information and information distribution, famously in revolution-created Russia and Third Reich Europe and 1950’s USA, and what was it, the 1970’s, or ’80’s when the ADL and JDL burned out the offices of the ‘holocaust deniers’ (Institute of Historical Review) in Orange County, California to destroy the records they had preserved that supported their arguments against the ‘Holocaust’ narrative.

    Today, with the computer, it has just become easier. The Puritan Warriors, Crusaders and Protectors of their “Truths” who fear attacks by Reason, Discussion and Rational Perspective can raise armies of ‘bots’ and infiltrate and destroy in seconds, or minutes where it used to take weeks, months or years of campaigning, and can without the physical and logistic effort the traditional ways required. The mind-set hasn’t changed.

    For those who run into “insecure site” and “certificate” blocks, in going to Consortium News, do a browser search and in the results scroll down past the old-site listing, ner the top and usually with a little saturn-looking atom-like avatar, to find the “consortiumnews.com” that has the black-below-stripes-above rectangular site-avatar, which goes to the new secure site.

  6. Bart Gruzalski
    March 8, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Robert, I’m glad you are back up. Just part of the NSA attack on information(NSA is the “brain drain” of MIT graduates).

    Bart

  7. I Human
    March 8, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Glad to see you are back up.

    Pherhaps it is a good idea to store all content offline as well. Would be a terrible loss if it all vanished!

    I’m sure the money to facilitate this can be raised. I would be happy to help out in that respect, be it through a donation or by helping to get the word out.

  8. Kat
    March 8, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    This attack makes clear how very important sites like this are. FYI: I’m still getting a Security Warning on my Kindle Fire when I try to access the site. It states that “continuing to load this page my result in the disclosure of personal information to an untrusted source”.

  9. Wm. Boyce
    March 8, 2016 at 12:15 pm

    Yes, Consortium News presents too many uncomfortably truthful articles that step on the toes of the “New World Order.”
    Keep it up.

  10. dahoit
    March 8, 2016 at 9:36 am

    I wonder who would do such a low blow thing?Zionists,for sure,or their MSM,or even our corrupt govt.Good to see you back.

  11. Erik
    March 8, 2016 at 9:17 am

    Sad to see this sort of attack. One might presume in this case that the troublemakers are advocates of the Repubs, MIC, oligarchy, or Israel, who are often justly criticized here and who attempt such information control by other means. DOS attacks are said to be relatively easy, so the cause could be an isolated hacker making his kind of comment. But if so, the hacker might be working for a security agency that provided the means.

  12. KathyP
    March 8, 2016 at 7:21 am

    I am so glad the content is back. Your website is invaluable for people who seek truth.

  13. Joe Bieniasz
    March 8, 2016 at 3:39 am

    Glad you are back.

  14. incontinent reader
    March 8, 2016 at 2:10 am

    Bob- I hope your people have Kapersky Lab type skills and will be able to trace how this virus entered your system to the point that you can identify the source and then sue the bastards- and if this turns out to be a virus targeting other investigative journalism sites, then make it a class action suit. If you can also get a criminal case going, and it is successful, you could use that investigation to supplement your own- and if a criminal conviction were obtained, then use the findings in a civil case- i.e. collaterally estop the perps from relitigating the facts in the civil case. This is all very speculative but the bastards need to be found out, held accountable and hit hard.

  15. dave
    March 8, 2016 at 1:34 am

    Sorry to hear your site was attacked. I’m seeing a problem with your SSL certificate on my Android phone (running Android 4.4.4). It says that the “server’s certificate is not trusted”.

    You may need to install intermediary certificates in order for your site’s certificate to be trusted by Android devices, as described here:

    http://stackoverflow.com/questions/22386585/geotrust-ssl-certificate-on-android-not-trusted

    Getting these things set up can be tricky. I’m sure you’ll get it working.

    Good luck!

  16. Anonymous
    March 7, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    I think we can guess who doesn’t like the criticisms your articles make of the current political/economic “system” and its continued devolution to the detriment of so many innocents. These are probably the same folks constantly sounding the alarm about the dangers of Russian and Chinese cyber warfare.

    • Anonymous
      March 8, 2016 at 2:57 am

      Why “moderation?” The point is that the perpetrators are undoubtedly some government (take your pick), some corporate entity or some political movement that doesn’t like your narration of the facts or point of view. Such folks constantly carp on the need for more federal intrusion into electronic communication to “deter” the Russkies or the Chinese. The epithet “Anonymous” hides nothing: you have my email address, in this case my university site–let the SWAT team go there. Or were you being facetious with the “moderation” quip?

  17. Helen
    March 7, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    Firefox is still blocking the website. I had to use Safari to get through.
    “Your connection is not secure
    The owner of consortiumnews.com has configured their website improperly. To protect your information from being stolen, Firefox has not connected to this website.”

  18. afisher
    March 7, 2016 at 8:37 pm

    Glad to see that Consortium News is back up and running. It could have been a random attack or something more insidious, aka fear of actual excellent journalism. I’m willing to be a nickel it was the “or”.
    Another result of hearing about the attack yesterday, that I read the excellent “Go South” article. I’m guessing that the perpetrator didn’t count on “good news”.

  19. Joey B
    March 7, 2016 at 7:54 pm

    Glad that you guys are up again. Keep up the good work. The truth will NOT be silenced. Thank you again Mr. Parry and Co.

  20. WG
    March 7, 2016 at 7:15 pm

    I’m very sorry to hear that you’ve been the victim of cyber attack. That being said, I would highly recommend you have multiple backups of your articles in several different physical locations, such as stored in safety deposit boxes or data rated fire safe. You should absolutely not have your only copy of your work on an internet connected server. I hope you’re able to recover all of the articles so they can be archived properly.

  21. Jerry
    March 7, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    I just sent you a modest donation. I hope you can find out who did this. Maybe the good people at theintercept.com would like to both help and do a story. They surely realize that they could be next. This is also an instance of the need for better, not worse, security and encryption.

    Perhaps Ed Snowden would take an interest.

    Best wishes and thanks for all that you do.

  22. Bob Van Noy
    March 7, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    I didn’t feel comfortable without your commentary Robert Parry and Consortium News, it is a lonely world out here without your reportage and the bright commentators. Welcome Back!
    I’m giving you an additional donation for remaining diligent. Thanks for all you do.

  23. jeremiah
    March 7, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    Try to find out who did it. It’s important.

  24. Zachary Smith
    March 7, 2016 at 6:23 pm

    …we were told by IT experts that Consortiumnews was the apparent victim of a sophisticated “denial of service” attack that destroyed the site’s functionality…

    I’d started to suspect this. Making a WAG, I’d go with Billionaires For Hillary as the moneybags behind the operation. Their very most favorite nation has a lot of hacking skills.

  25. M.J. Hornik
    March 7, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    I suspected as much, they don’t much care for the disinfectant of sunshine.

  26. Christene
    March 7, 2016 at 5:58 pm

    So, so thrilled you are back up and running!!! Excellence, integrity, and ethics come at a high price these days it seems. Thank you for fighting the good fight! You are needed now more than ever!!!!

  27. Uncle Sam's Comeuppance
    March 7, 2016 at 4:55 pm

    Double thumbs up on all you’re doing there. If I had money I’d mail flyers to th entire country and tell them to get the truth at Consortium News. As it is now, I’m constantly referring readers to you website whenever appropriate and I know many have benefitted. Thanks so much.

Comments are closed.