The US Authorities Accountability Workplace (GAO) will examine DDoS assaults that allegedly focused the Federal Communications Fee’s system for accepting public feedback on FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to roll again web neutrality guidelines.

Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) requested the investigation in August, and the GAO just lately confirmed that it accepted the Schatz/Pallone request.

Amongst different issues, Schatz and Pallone are in search of proof that the assaults truly occurred. The FCC has not “launched any information or documentation that may permit for confirmation that an assault occurred,” they mentioned of their letter to the GAO.

Skepticism about DDoS and outage

The FCC’s public remark web site suffered an outage on Might eight, simply because the fee was receiving an inflow of pro-net neutrality feedback spurred by comic John Oliver’s HBO section on the subject.

The FCC attributed the downtime solely to “a number of” DDoS assaults and mentioned the assaults had been “deliberate makes an attempt by exterior actors to bombard the FCC’s remark system with a excessive quantity of site visitors to our business cloud host.”

Nevertheless, the FCC has repeatedly thwarted efforts to acquire extra particulars on the assaults and the fee’s response to them. Internet neutrality activist group Battle for the Future launched a petition asking if the FCC “invent[ed] a pretend DDoS assault to cowl up the truth that they misplaced feedback from web neutrality supporters.”

Schatz and Pallone requested the GAO to search out out what proof the FCC used to find out cyberattack occurred and what documentation the FCC developed throughout its investigation.

The Democratic lawmakers additionally need the GAO to look at whether or not the FCC is ready to stop future assaults. The GAO resolution to analyze was reported by Politico final week.

When contacted by Ars, a GAO spokesperson didn’t say precisely what matters the investigation will cowl. The investigation additionally will not begin for one more few months, so the reply most likely will not come till after the FCC makes a last resolution on rescinding web neutrality guidelines.

“The work, because it was accepted, is now within the queue, however will not get underway for a number of months when workers grow to be out there,” the GAO advised Ars. “As soon as it does begin, then one of many first steps might be to find out the precise scope of what it should cowl and the methodology we’ll use.” There may be “no timeline” for finishing the investigation “till these issues are decided.”

Regardless of the transient outage, the FCC finally collected greater than 22 million feedback on its plan to overturn the 2015 resolution that stepped up regulation of broadband suppliers and imposed web neutrality guidelines. Most feedback had been generated by type letter campaigns or had been spam, however one evaluation discovered that 98.5 p.c of distinctive feedback help the present web neutrality guidelines.


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