Since September 1, the International Press Institute (IPI) has been battling a targeted and sustained cyberattack. This attack appears to be in retaliation for our advocacy work on behalf of independent media in Hungary, who have faced a wave of similar attacks since this summer.
The attack on IPI began with a series of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks that initially took our website offline for three days. Our website has since been restored after scaling up security measures. We continue to experience milder DDoS attacks alongside efforts by attackers to breach our website.
This ongoing cyberattack is the most brazen and direct attack on IPI’s online infrastructure in our organization’s history. It reflects a wider and deeply alarming pattern of the abuse of digital tools by malicious actors to attack and silence critical journalists and those who work to defend them.
This cyberattack began just days after IPI released a statement highlighting a recent wave of DDoS attacks that have downed the websites of dozens of independent media outlets in Hungary over the past five months.
“In that report, we correctly describe these DDoS attacks as a new form of digital censorship that is further threatening Hungary’s already besieged independent media. WE also called on Hungarian law enforcement to identify and hold those responsible to account, and urged greater attention from the European Union” IPI added.
Evidence of the attack on IPI shows that we have been targeted by the same cybercriminal or criminals behind the ongoing DDoS attacks in Hungary. These attackers left behind a message warning of another attack. We believe this is a deliberate and targeted attack on our organization in retaliation for shining a light on this dangerous new front in the war against Hungary’s independent media.
“While these attacks have disrupted our work, they have only strengthened our resolve,” said Khadija Patel, chair of IPI’s global Executive Board. “We are more committed than ever to our mission of defending press freedom and independent journalism wherever they are threatened. We will continue to stand by independent media in Hungary and around the world.”