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4vlada Website Suffers DDoS Attack after Publication of Investigation into Local Public Official

June 4 – Detector Media reported that on June 3rd the website of the Rivne Agency of Investigative Reporting (a partner of the USAID Media Program in Ukraine) suffered a powerful DDoS cyberattack that caused a temporary shutdown of this online resource. The DDoS attack bombarded the website with incoming traffic from hundreds of IP-addresses from all over the world, making the site inaccessible.

According to 4vlada, the cyberattack happened after the group published an  investigation on June 3 about the cost of the wedding party of Rivne city council deputy Sviatoslav Stelmashchuk. The story revealed that the wedding party cost about 1.5 million hryvnias (US$56,000) while Stelmashchuk’s monthly salary as a public servant is 11,000 hryvnias (US$400).

The day after the attack was launched, 4vlada’s newsroom received a demand through Facebook from an unknown source to pay a ransom of 0.5 bitcoin (roughly US $16,400) to stop the attack. This demand was refused by 4vlada.

This is the third incident targeting 4vlada in the last two-and-a-half years. In 2018, the newsroom was targeted in an arson attack and the Rivne Agency’s server was stolen. The website was DDoS-attacked twice in 2020 after publication of investigations into local authorities’ corruption in the distribution of land plots and the falsification of election results.

Website functions were restored within a day after the June 3rd DDoS attack.

More on Detector Media in Ukrainian and on the website of the Fourth Power (4vlada) in Ukrainian.

Photo: FLY: D on Unsplash