Alternative Media Groups File Raps vs Cyber-Attackers

CMFR/PHILIPPINES – Alternative media outfits Bulatlat, Kodao Productions and Pinoy Weeky as well as alternative media network Altermidya filed a civil case today, 29 March 2019 at the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, against IP Converge Data Services Inc. and Suniway Group of Companies for the cyber-attacks on their websites since December last year.

The case is the first civil complaint against cyber-attackers in the country per Altermidya National Coordinator Rhea Padilla.

The websites have been subjected to sustained Distributed Denial of Service Attacks (DDos) — flooding the server of a website with traffic. (see Alerts: “Alternative News Sites Down in Cyber-attack,” “Cyber-attacks Hit Bulatlat Anew”)

Screengrab from Pinoy Weekly’s Facebook page.

Bulatlat reported Padilla as saying that “Through the solid and thorough digital forensic investigation of Sweden-based Qurium Media Foundation over time, it was discovered that the cyber-attacks were coming from companies IP Converge and Suniway.”

Qurium Media Foundation is a Sweden-based group of digital forensic investigation experts that has been helping monitor the attacks.

In a report, Qurium said “The networks that have been used to control the attacks appear to be advertised in Hong Kong by the providers IP-Converge DataCenter, Inc (AS23930) and Hong Kong Broadband Network Ltd(AS10103), but are in fact “network traffic tunnels”, a special type of VPN used to hide the traffic’s origin.”

It added: “The router responsible of hiding the networks is part of the infrastructure of Suniway Group of Companies Inc (AS137184), a company with registration both in Hong Kong and the Philippines with the public mission of provide network support to Chinese and Filipino companies in the Philippines.’”

Qurium said their investigation “reveals that the attacker is based in the Philippines, is most probably a Mandarin native speaker, and uses the Telegram nick ‘P4p3r.’” 

The media groups were assisted by the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) in filing the complaint.

In a statement, Pinoy Weekly said “This complaint, grounded on very solid forensic study by our partner Qurium from Sweden, should serve as a warning to these nefarious forces (including the Duterte regime’s troll army and cyber attackers) to desist in their actions that curtail our fundamental freedoms because we will fight back.” Earlier this month, international watchdog Reporters Without Boarders mirrored the websites of Bulatlat and Kodao Productions.