CNN Philippines website attacked mid-presidential debate

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Source: CNN Philippines/Twitter
Source: CNN Philippines/Twitter

The website of media network CNN Philippines experienced a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, all while the presidential debates they hosted was ongoing Sunday (Feb 27).

They assured the public that they were “working to get the site up and running as soon as possible.”

The CNN Philippines presidential debate was attended by all but one presidential aspirant – the dictator’s son and namesake Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.

Election watchdog Kontra Daya (Against Fraud) condemned the cyberattack as they called on the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe the attack.

"This deprives online users of information related to the presidential debate. The attempt to censor the press is unacceptable," they said.

This was not the first time the media network was attacked this month with a DDoS attack. According to a Manila Bulletin article, CNN Philippines, along with PhilStar and Rappler, experienced cyberattacks earlier this month.

Additionally, Alternative media outlets such as AlterMidya, Bulatlat, Kodao, and Pinoy Weekly were experiencing attacks as early as 2018.

The Philippine Army was said to be behind the cyberattacks for AlterMidya and Bulatlat in 2021, according to the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-PH) – an agency of the DICT.

These findings were affirmed by a report of digital rights group Qurium Foundation.

Pinoy Weekly, meanwhile, got attacked just as they published an editorial on what they saw as an alliance between dictator’s son Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. and Davao City mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio.

Two weeks ago, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) also called on DICT and NBI to probe the cyberattacks. They suspect that the DDoS attacks were “orchestrated, systematic, and politically motivated.”

Mark Ernest Famatigan is a news writer who focuses on Philippine politics. He is an advocate for press freedom and regularly follows developments in the Philippine economy. The views expressed are his own.

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