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Three online outlets in Ecuador attacked after publishing information on Hacking Team

This statement was originally published on fundamedios.org on 10 July 2015.

Between 7 and 8 July 2015, the portals Gkillcity.com, PlanV.com.ec and Milhojas.is suffered repeated DDoS (denial of service) attacks on their servers that left them inaccessible. Coincidentally, the three sites were attacked after publishing opinion articles or news reports about the contracts of several Ecuadorian government agencies with Italian company Hacking Team.

The first attack occurred against Gkillcity's page, which remains down. Speaking to Fundamedios, José María León, head of the digital media outlet, said the attack began on the night of 7 July and continued through the next morning. León confirmed that on the first day they remained down for at least five hours, while on the following days their server has been inoperative all day. According to León, it was a DDoS attack, and they have already received confirmation from the service provider that there is an abnormal number of access requests by robots, causing the saturation of the system and taking the page down.

The head of the Gkillcity site also reported that their social network accounts have been victims of hacking. On 8 July, Gkillcity's Twitter account suffered a hacking attempt, but they luckily regained control of it immediately. The same thing happened last week with their Facebook account. In its Twitter account, the media outlet described that the attack on the site occurred after publishing an article titled “Internet's enemies were hacked”, while in another article they wrote: “Still under heavy DDoS attack. We don't know where it's coming from, but it's clear they don't want us online”.

In a different case, the Milhojas Foundation website was attacked on the evening of 8 July and also remains offline. The site's directors confirmed that the intrusion occurred at about 16:00, after uploading an article about Hacking Team, and they claimed it was an aggressive attack on the server that hosts the website in a foreign country. However, they are still waiting for a report that will enable them to determine the type of attack. Through their Twitter account, Milhojas' directors rejected “the continuous attacks on freedom of expression in Ecuador”.

Finally, the digital magazine PlanV also reported that in the early hours of 9 July its website went down as a result of a cyber attack from servers in Italy. Juan Carlos Calderón, director of the outlet, confirmed that the page's crash also occurred after they uploaded a report about Hacking Team and was caused by a DDoS attack.

The three digital media outlets remained inaccessible at the moment of issuing this alert. Their directors have announced they are working to get back online as soon as possible.

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