Don’t Silence Science, an Appeal

posted in: News, Updates | 21

Today, we have an unfortunate announcement to make. For about one month, Biology Fortified has been the target of an ongoing Denial of Service attack, which has been taking our sites offline. We have prepared a video announcement to tell you more about it, and to make an appeal to the attacker for them to stop trying to take down our site. We are seeking the support of our readers and everyone else who agrees that this kind of attack has no place in debates about science.

POST-flood
A 13-second snapshot of the server logs for the attack

Facts about the Attack:

  • The Denial of Service attack has been ongoing since the beginning of October.
  • The attacker is primarily using a server in the Netherlands, at IP: 80.82.78.166. This server belongs to a company called Ecatel, and there is copious documentation available online that shows that Ecatel is a common server host used for Denial of Service attacks.
  • The attacker is primarily using POST floods to attack our site, and may be using SYN floods as well, however we have been unable to confirm this at this time.
  • Both our main site at www.biofortified.org and the GENERA project at genera.biofortified.org have been targeted. Other subdomains that have not been publicly named have not been targeted.
  • Several other IP addresses are engaging in Brute Force hacking attacks to try to get administrative access to our sites, which may be just bots that attack random sites, but some could also be coming from the same attacker(s).
  • Some of these Brute Force attacks are trying to guess administrative usernames based on the name of our organization.
  • The offending IP address has sent about 300,000 requests to our server over a span of about 3 weeks.
  • We do not know the ultimate goal or motivation of the attacker is.

What this Means

Someone – we don’t know who – has been denying our right to freedom of speech and expression, and denying your right to read what we write, and access the resources we publish through our site. Thankfully, due to the dedication of volunteers, we are currently successfully defending ourselves against the attack, however it is using a significant amount of resources to do so. It also means that to guarantee that we can remain online, we need to pay the services of an experienced server administrator who can devote time to enhancing the speed and security of our system to guard against future attacks and respond quickly in real-time.

We need your support to continue to defend ourselves against this attack. Please consider making a donation to help keep us online!




Checks can also be sent by mail to:

Biology Fortified, Inc.
6907 University Ave. #354
Middleton, WI 53562

#DontSilenceScience – Add your Voice

We are asking our readers, supporters, and everyone else who receives this message to lend your voice in support of our call for the attacker to stop their attacks. There are several ways you can do this. You can sign our Open Letter to express your support for us, and your opinion of this attack. You can also tell us what you think about it on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ using the hashtag: #DontSilenceScience. We also encourage you to raise awareness about this attack on your own blogs – and we would love it if some of you out there could put together your own videos expressing your support for us. Send them to us and we will add them to the chorus. With your help, we can make sure that they Don’t Silence Science.

Don’t Silence Science, an Open Letter

Dear Attacker,

In October 2014, you attacked our server with a Denial of Service attack. This took our websites offline, preventing us from accessing our sites. It took down our blog, silencing our voice and the voices of our contributors. It took down our forum, silencing our readers. It took down our resources, such as our GENetic Engineering Risk Atlas, silencing the science we are communicating to the public.

Taking down our site and blocking access to the resources that we publish is wrong. This is not how people in a civilized society debate contentious topics. In fact, by blocking our views you don’t even advance your own opinions. If there is to be any resolution of the issues we discuss on our site, it will come through sharing information and perspectives, not trying to drown each other out. We ask that you consider this fact, cease your attack against us, and join us in conversation.

We are asking our supporters to add their voice to our request below, and you can read their comments on this page.

Regards,
The Board of Directors of Biology Fortified, Inc.

Follow BFI Board:

The Board of Directors for Biology Fortified, Inc. is a four member board, whose members include Karl Haro von Mogel, Anastasia Bodnar, David Tribe, and Kevin Folta. To learn more, visit the Meet us page.