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Seminole County Post Targeted By Large Scale Cyber Attack

seminole county post, seminole county news, news seminole county, jacob engels, ddos attack, ddos cyber attack,

Since August 27, Seminole County Post has been under attack from a sophisticated network of specially programmed "bots."

 

By Jacob Engels

 

Sooner or later it was bound to happen. That was what a close friend and ace computer programmer/security specialist I have known since high school told me when I informed him that Seminole County Post was targeted by a large-scale multi-national DDoS cyber attack.

 

A distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack is one in which a multitude of compromised systems attack a single target, thereby causing a denial of service for users of the targeted system. The flood of incoming messages to the target system essentially forces it to shut down, thereby denying service to the system to legitimate users.

 

Since the primary election on August 26, Seminole County Post has been the focus of several specifically-crafted and programmed robots or "bots" that enlisted a "botnet" army to overload our servers' resources and shut down our website.

 

A critical mass was reached as we were endorsing candidates, but we increased our server space and dodged the bullet. It appears somebody may not have been happy with our election coverage and wanted to punch us back. They succeeded over Thanksgiving weekend.

 

Last week, after we uploaded stories highlighting the success of Winter Springs polling firm Gravis Marketing and then a story detailing a failed candidate’s campaign to be placed on a judicial nominating commission, the Seminole County Post's servers reached their resource limit and left the website unusable. Users were greeted with 500 Internal Server Errors, 503 Errors, or 404 Errors.

 

These errors are commonplace for websites that are being targeted by DDoS attacks and can relate to the fact that the servers have reached their resource limit. The attacks, which have been trying to cripple our site since late August were centered out of the Ukraine, China, Henderson (Nevada), and Russia. Countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia were also in the mix. The operatives and "bots" in these countries were responsible for hundreds of thousands of hits and millions of pageviews minute after minute - reaching their peak after we uploaded the article on the vacancy on the judicial nominating commission.

 

According to Verisign, an Internet security firm that handles DDoS mitigation - Quarter 3 of 2014 (July, August, September) saw the highest amount of DDoS attacks so far in 2014. Most websites targeted in this quarter (over 50%) were news or entertainment websites like Seminole County Post.

 

DDoS attacks are against federal law and those engaging in such attacks are usually charged with "conspiracy to cause damage to a protected computer" by federal authorities. If found guilty, perps can face fines and jail time.

 

The Seminole County Post will be reporting this attack on our site to the FBI, who will be launching an investigation in cooperation with other local, statewide and national agencies. We have also already hired a privately contracted Internet security consultant and DDoS expert who has already identified several suspects and will be working to finalize the pool before we turn over our information to assist the federal investigation.

 

Those responsible for this attack on this business and publication will be dealt with accordingly and revealed for the criminals they are - when the time is right. Until then, you have been put on notice. No matter how much you did to conceal your involvement in this crime, it will be null and void when your face is front and center on this website — and many others — when the feds arrest you. If your goal was to conceal your past, all you’ve done is seal your future. We’re watching....

 

 

Jacob Engels, is the Founder of East Orlando Post & Seminole County Post. He is a seasoned political operative who has led numerous statewide political groups and has worked on several high-profile local, statewide, and national races. Jacob has been interviewed on national television & radio programs, with his work having been featured in the Orlando Sentinel, New York Times, Washington Post, Miami Herald and other publications nationwide. He can be reached at [email protected]

 

 

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