Pro-independence News Website Victim of Suspected Cyber Attack

Update: Ignore pretty much all of below. The day after after saying it might have been a victim of a cyber attack, Newsnet Scotland is now saying it was a coding error. Read more here.

This was what allmediascotland originally reported…

A news website that has pro-Scottish independence leanings is suspected of having been the victim of a concerted cyber attack.

Say the publishers of Newsnet Scotland: “At approximately 12.55 pm yesterday, Newsnet's host server reported that the site had collapsed under the weight of 'unprecedented activity'. Partial service was finally restored at 12.40 am this morning. Newsnet's staff are currently working flat out to restore full normal service. Until we are able to restore full service, you may find certain parts of the site are non-functioning or are inaccessible. We sincerely apologise for the inconvenience.

“Internal investigations are continuing in order to track down the root of the problem and to ensure that it cannot recur. However our server administrator has informed us that the most likely cause is a Denial of Service (DOS) Attack. The pattern of activity which the site IT team detected points toward such an explanation.

“Denial of Service Attacks are deliberate attempts to censor and close down websites which the attackers find 'troublesome'. Recently websites supporting Tibetan independence were subject to co-ordinated DOS Attacks which were later discovered to have originated in China.

“We have strong reason to fear that certain individuals or groups with an interest in Scottish politics may be adopting the tactics of the Chinese government in censoring media freedom of speech online.

“On legal advice, Newsnet Scotland is hosted overseas in Denmark with daily backups dispersed further afield. The insidious nature of this recent event has unfortunately blocked access to all our digital assets. Our IT team have worked tirelessly to resurrect a light version of the site which will be rebuilt in the coming hours. Personal information such as names and email addresses given by site users when registering with the site remains safe and secure.

“Although we cannot as yet be 100 per cent certain that we have been victims of a deliberate and co-ordinated DOS Attack aiming to silence us, we strongly believe it to be the most plausible explanation. The questions which we cannot definitively answer as yet are who, and why.

“If our fears are proven, it is a worrying development. Although we are occasionally ascerbic and strong in our criticisms of Unionist parties, Newsnet has always operated strictly legitimately and above board. We play by the rules. But it seems that perhaps certain groups or individuals do not like what we have to say, and do not want ordinary Scottish people to hear it.”

This morning, The Scottish Sun newspaper declared its support for the SNP, ahead of the forthcoming elections to the Scottish Parliament, on the fifth of next month.

Newsnet Scotland was launched on March last year to address – it says – “a perceived imbalance in the reporting of Scottish News and current affairs”. 

It continues: “We believe that a nation without a balanced media is the poorer for it.”