Cyber Attack Targets Human Rights Organization

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October 28, 2010; Source: Associated Press | At 5 p.m. this past Wednesday the website of Survival International, a 41-year-old rights organization that had aired a video depicting Indonesian soldiers torturing native Papuans was subjected to a “denial of service attack,” a cyber attack that increased in severity over the evening.

Survival International believes that the assault resulted either from its publishing the video or from a campaign it had waged a month previous discouraging tourists from visiting Botswana because of its alleged persecution of Kalahari bushmen. The group tends to believe that the video was the spark since the attack also affected five other groups involved with Papua.

These other groups were: Friends of People Close To Nature, West Papua Media Alerts, Asian Human Rights Commission, Free West Papua Campaign and West Papua Unite. Additionally Indonesia reportedly has more hacking expertise than Botswana. The attack was apparently very sophisticated and launched from thousands of computers.

When we went to the Survival International website it was still down. Calling the action “cyberterrorism” the organization says that some governments are using denial of service cyberattacks to silence critics.—Ruth McCambridge