Despite the coincidental timing, the FCC is blaming a slow-down of its commenting system on a coordinated cyberattack, not comedian John Oliver.
Oliver, who mans the desk on the HBO news-comedy show “Last Week Tonight,” urged his viewers Sunday evening to write the FCC to speak out against plans to roll back Title II and net neutrality rules. Shortly after Oliver’s segment ended, the FCC’s comments site was inundated.
But the site was merely inundated with traffic, not legitimate comments, according to FCC CIO David Bray.
“Beginning on Sunday night at midnight, our analysis reveals that the FCC was subject to multiple distributed denial-of-service attacks,” Bray said in a press release.
“These were deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host. These actors were not attempting to file comments themselves; rather they made it difficult for legitimate commenters to access and file with the FCC,” he explained.
Bray said the system was never actually down due to the attack, however significant lag made it impossible for some users to submit comments.
“We have worked with our commercial partners to address this situation and will continue to monitor developments going forward,” he added.