Next Media Ltd. has denounced an unprecedented denial-of-service attack on its Hong Kong and Taiwan websites as a serious infringement of press freedom and a clear attempt to counter Hong Kong’s fight for democracy.
The publisher of the Apple Daily tabloids in Hong Kong and Taiwan said the attacks lasted more than 10 hours from early Wednesday and bombarded the sites with as many as 40 million online inquiries per second.
The attacks occurred just days before the June 22 Occupy Central poll on political reform.
An unnamed Taiwanese official in charge of information security said the scale of the attacks suggested a national-level effort and suggested the People’s Liberation Army could have been behind the move, even though the internet addresses linked to the attacks were not in China.
Several news groups and legislators in Hong Kong condemned the attack. Legislator Claudia Mo said the attack clearly targeted news media defending the city’s core values.
Next Media executive director Cassian Cheung said that while the organization has been the target of cyberattacks almost every day, the scale this time was unprecedented.
Cheung did not speculate on the hackers’ motive but said there would no doubt be more attacks. Next Media has also asked police to take action.
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