Several media houses implicated in the attack
By Maria Celander
Dispatch International is under attack. During the last week we have been bombarded by attempts to overload the web site, rendering it inaccessible to our readers.
”This is no ordinary Denial of Service attack, that anybody can carry out. The people responsible know what they’re doing and have reasonably high skills,” says Dispatch International’s head of internet security.
A number of experts on IT security have gone through the logs from the 24 hour period when the attack was at its most intense, around November 22. And they draw several conclusions, of which the most interesting is that computers belonging to the newspapers Sydsvenskan, Värnamo Nyheter and Norrköpings Tidningar, the radio production company Tredje Statsmakten Media AB and Swedish state television SVT took part in the attack.
“Most of the computers used in the attack have random, dynamic ip-addresses. So, these media houses certainly stand out,” says one of the security experts.
Even if there is no way to be sure that persons from these companies have participated actively in the attack, it could be due to a virus or so-called cross site scripting, the experts believe that is the most likely scenario.
”The alternative is that these major corporations have been hacked, and that would mean this is a very high profile attack. We can’t rule it out, but it is unlikely. An attack at that level could have wreaked complete havoc with the system, and that didn’t happen this time.”
By the skin of their teeth, Dispatch International’s security team managed to keep the web page online during most of the attack, but the publication of last week’s web paper was severely delayed. If one were to calculate how much money an attack like this is worth in overtime and damage to the paper’s reputation, one would end up with a six figure amount. Dispatch International has of course reported the attack to the police, who are now investigating suspicions of hacking.
Some people in the Swedish mainstream media are emulating North Korean methods and have been reported to the police for illegal hacking
Dispatch International has struck fear in Swedish mainstream media, to the extent that people linked to several media organizations, among them the daily Sydsvenskan and Swedish Television, are trying to take down our website. Last week we noticed that it was under heavy attack – of a magnitude that is normally used if you want to shut down a small country or a major organization.
We withstood the attack and our setup is such that we plan to survive any attack in the future.
The most interesting aspect concerning the onslaught was that people associated with several Swedish media organizations took part in it. Our analysis of the hackers shows that among the culprits were people connected to the dailies Sydsvenskan, Norrköpings Tidningar, Värnamo Nyheter, Swedish Television and a production company associated with Radio Sweden, Tredje Statsmakten Media AB.
The latter produces the program “Medierna i P1” (Media in P1) for Radio Sweden – a weekly show intended to scrutinize Swedish media.
Ever since Dispatch International got started, Sydsvenskan has been heaping abuse on our newspaper. On 23 November Sydsvenskan’s cultural editor Rakel Chukri claimed that Dispatch International is spreading hatred against people of color. She was of course unable to point to a single instance of Dispatch International doing such a thing.
It now turns out that people with access to computers at Sydsvenskan are not satisfied with merely vilifying us, but are engaged in an attempt to wreck us by illegal means.
There is no way the recent attack can be due to an honest mistake or construed as a bungled attempt to access our content. The hackers have carefully entered a complex code that can have no other purpose than demolishing our operating system. The attack must have been carefully planned and coordinated.
Regardless of how the attack was organized, the media organizations that have been hosting this unprecedented attempt to wreck a fellow media are legally responsible and they have all been reported to the police.
Swedish journalists have made no secret of their decision to stop calling us what we are, i.e., Islam critics. Instead they have tainted us with the absurd epithet: an “anti-Muslim newspaper”. Last week Daniel Sandström, editor-in-chief of Sydsvenskan, explained to Medievärlden his decision to call us “anti-Muslim”.
– The Free Press Society and Dispatch International often present themselves as Islam-critical, but if you look closer at them, you will see that it is not only about criticism of religion. It is about a broader and more aggressive view on Muslims’ right to live and work in the West. So Islam-critical is not an adequate word. Readers have responded to the choice of words and these reactions have been useful to us.
The idea seems to be that an “anti-Muslim” newspaper may more easily be accused of “racism” and “xenophobia”.
Deplorable as the wrecking attempt is, we take it as confirmation that Dispatch International has a necessary role to play – a role that is evidently acknowledged by the Swedish media. Otherwise they would not have gone to this length to destroy us.
The mainstream Swedish media, aka “The Infallibles” or the “Guardians of the Faith”, never miss a chance to profess their allegiance to free speech, but when a new media such as Dispatch International appears on the scene, they are not satisfied with merely defaming it. Some gentlemen of the press won’t shy away from using criminal methods to silence inconvenient voices.
We are aware that totalitarian states such as China, Cuba and North Korea do their utmost to quell all dissent. Until now we have never heard of news media in a democratic state that have tried to emulate the likes of the Chinese Central Committee, the rulers of Communist Cuba or the “dear leaders” of North Korea.
This behavior attests to a very sorry state of affairs in Sweden. But “The Infallibles”, our so-called colleagues in the media, may rest assured that their efforts to destroy us will come to naught. They will not succeed in preventing Dispatch International from starting regular weekly publication in January 2013. They will not stop us from gaining a mass readership. And they will not prevent us from writing the truth that is so lamentably absent from the Swedish mainstream media.
All that the hackers have succeeded in doing is to highlight the importance of Dispatch International. We can think of no better reason why every democratic and freedom-loving Swede should take out a subscription to our newspaper.
We will not surrender and we will not allow the enemies of freedom to have their way.
We are sure you won’t either.
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Note from the editors:
These articles are mirrored from Dispatch International, which is currently suffering an extraordinarily heavy denial of service attack. This criminal behaviour has been reported to the police for investigation, and the log files indicate that the Swedish mainstream media is directly implicated. In case you run a blog or other web site which could also mirror these articles, please do so.