Senators ask FBI to investigate reported DDoS attack on FCC

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A group of senators wants the FBI to look into reported distributed denial-of-service attacks on the FCC.

Sens. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, Al Franken, D-Minn., Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Ron Wyden, D-Ore., sent a letter Wednesday to acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe asking for a prioritized investigation into claims from the FCC that it was the victim of “deliberate attempts by external actors to bombard the FCC’s comment system with a high amount of traffic to our commercial cloud host” in early May.

The alleged attacks corresponded with the airing of HBO show “Last Week Tonight” in which host and comedian John Oliver urged viewers to to visit the FCC’s website and use the comment system, known as the ECFS, to share their displeasure with a newly proposed rollback of net neutrality rules.

The five senators want the FBI to brief them on the matter by June 23.

“The FCC is important to the lives of all Americans because it oversees our Nation’s telecommunications networks,” the letter from the senators says. “These networks are important for both consumers and industry, contributing to public engagement, individual livelihood, public safety, our national economy, and our ability to remain competitive globally. … The reported cyberattack on the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System is extremely troubling given that it threatens to stifle the public’s ability to weigh in on these issues.”

Congress already launched an inquiry into the reported attacks shortly after they occurred, but the group asks that the FBI take more immediate and serious action to “prioritize this matter and investigate the source of this attack.”

“Any cyberattack on a federal network is very serious,” the letter says. “This particular attack may have denied the American people the opportunity to contribute to what is supposed to be a fair and transparent process, which in turn may call into question the integrity of the FCC’s rulemaking proceedings.”

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DDoS, FCC, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Last Week Tonight, Senate
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