This was first posted on my Facebook page while my site was inaccessible.
manueldelia.com continues to be unavailable for most of those trying to access it. This is due to a heavy DDoS attack on multiple fronts on the servers it uses. This is the second downtime this week and the longest in the year long history of the blog. The website was first reported down around 10pm on Saturday and use remains unavailable to most today at 5pm.
Engineers at the hosting company have worked tirelessly and round the clock to try to bring the website come back on line.
manueldelia.com is hosted on servers outside Malta and hosting services are provided by a reputable and experienced firm that provides similar services to several websites of traffic several times larger than manueldelia.com.
The cybercrime unit of the police have been asked to investigate these attacks.
From analysis of the data available it appears these attacks are the work of professional hackers working from a base of operation outside Malta, likely Ukraine.
Since the first DDoS attack on the website earlier this week, new software defences have been deployed in order to attempt to overcome these assaults.
More options are being considered and assessed for cost and hoped for benefit.
It should be noted however that in a democratic environment, the publication of online content should not be a battle of survival from well-resourced attacks. Cyber-attacks are crimes punishable under Maltese laws. If these crimes are perpetrated at the behest of, or on instructions from, the state, they are a manifest breach of the fundamental freedom of expression.
It should not matter that the content of the attacked website is critical of the government. It is the function of the government to seek to protect freedom of all speech within the community and to prioritise the freedom of its critics to hold it to account.
It is right that ways of overcoming these obstacles are sought and manueldelia.com appreciates deeply offers of support in kind and in money in order to bring the website back up in the shortest time possible.
However one should not accept the existence of these attacks as a normal occupational hazard or an implied cost of business for critics of the government.
These attacks are nothing short of conscious and coordinated assaults on free expression and are very likely funded, motivated and commissioned by Malta’s government.
Failure of the community – of readers, of colleagues in journalism, of civil society, of political parties, and of the state itself together with its institutions – to call out and seek to defeat attacks that suppress the free flow of information and opinions, amounts to surrender when faced by the inexorable march of the dark forces of crime that are occupying ever more of the public space that should belong to that community.
Do not accept this.