FCC claims that hackers, not John Oliver, crashed its Net neutrality comments page

jon oliver wont succeed stewart at daily show john

The Internet rejoiced over the idea that comedian John Oliver’s 13-minute rant on Net neutrality inspired trolls to do something useful for once. Now, the revelry may all be dismissed as a farce. The FCC claims that it was hacked shortly after the airing of Oliver’s rant on his show Last Week Tonight. 

In an interview with Vice, the FCC said that its comments page was compromised by a database denial of service (DoS) attack. The FCC’s public comment system, which is said to be 17 years old, was disabled for several hours, thereby preventing people from submitting filings. 

A database DoS attack is different from the common type of DoS attacks because it affects the infrastructure that the website runs on. According to Vice, instead of overwhelming the FCC page by introducing too many meaningless connections, the hackers were said to have held up the system by repeatedly adding comments and then executing searches for records. This method is known to introduce “dead record locks,” which locks up the system when multiple users try to view or edit the same record. 

“We received a surge in the volume of visits to our electronic comment filing system last week,” FCC spokesperson Kim Hart told Vice. “A byproduct of the high volume was what is known as a ‘dead record lock,’ where connections in the database create record lock contention and eventually cause the system to freeze. This created difficulty for people trying to submit and search for filed comments.”

The FCC also revealed that its electronic comment filing system (ECFS) experienced an upsurge in Internet traffic that amounted to 10-fold the volume that the website typically handles. From June 2-6 (Oliver’s show aired on June 1), the number of dead record locks in the system also increased by 40 times the usual number of incidents. 

In an almost comical turn of events, the FCC later denied what it said, telling Engadget that its comments were misconstrued. It said that there was no evidence of a malicious attack and that an uptick in Internet traffic caused the system to crash. Vice answered by saying that its FCC source confirmed the cyberattack.

While the circumstances remain murky, we are holding out hope that a kumbaya moment was facilitated by a man who called the Internet “the electronic cat database.” If you missed Oliver’s brilliant explanation of Net neutrality, you can check out the excerpt from his show below.


Marriott asking guests for data to see if they were victims of the Starwood hack

Marriott has created an online form to help you find out if your data was stolen in the massive Starwood hack that came to light toward the end of 2018. But take note, it requires you to submit a bunch of personal details.

These are the must-have games that every Xbox One owner needs

More than four years into its life span, Microsoft's latest console is finally coming into its own. From Cuphead to Halo 5, the best Xbox One games offer something for players of every type.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘Norsemen’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Movies & TV

J.J. Abrams wraps production on Star Wars: Episode IX with a heartfelt message

Star Wars: The Force Awakens director J.J. Abrams has wrapped production on Star Wars: Episode IX, which he directed and co-wrote. Here's everything we know about the movie before it premieres in December 2019.

Enjoy Windows on a Chromebook with these great tips and tricks

If you want to push the functionality of your new Chromebook to another level, and Linux isn't really your deal, you can try installing Windows on a Chromebook. Here's how to do so in case you're looking to nab some Windows-only software.

Are you one of the billions who have watched these super-popular YouTube videos?

Viral videos can quickly garner millions upon millions of views, but even they fall well behind the view counts on the most watched YouTube videos ever. Those have been watched billions of times.

New Chrome feature aimed at preventing websites from blocking Incognito Mode

A new Chrome feature will prevent websites from blocking Chrome users as they browse using Incognito Mode. The feature is supposed to fix a known loophole that allows websites to detect and block those using Incognito Mode.

Reluctant to give your email address away? Here's how to make a disposable one

Want to sign up for a service without the risk of flooding your inbox with copious amounts of spam and unwanted email? You might want to consider using disposable email addresses via one of these handy services.

Chrome is a fantastic browser, but is is still the best among new competitors?

Choosing a web browser for surfing the web can be tough with all the great options available. Here we pit the latest versions of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, Edge, and Vivaldi against one another to find the best browsers for most users.

Microsoft extension adds Google Chrome support for Windows Timeline

The Windows Timeline feature is now much more versatile thanks to the added support for Google's Chrome browser. All you need to do to increase its functionality is to download the official Chrome extension.
Movies & TV

Here’s how to watch the 2019 Oscars livestream online

The 91st Academy Awards will air live on ABC, but there are also a number of ways to watch Hollywood's biggest night online using your mobile device, desktop, or set-top streamer. Here's how to catch the Oscars livestream.

YouTube changes its strikes system, offers softer first-offense penalty

YouTube announced changes to its strikes system for its content creators. The changes include a softer first-offense penalty for creators who violate YouTube's guidelines and more consistent penalties for further violations.

An experimental feature could help reduce memory usage in Google Chrome

Google Chrome might be the most popular web browser, but it also is a resource hog. Google is currently working on an experimental feature for Chrome which sets out to reduce its overall memory usage. 

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. The best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.