North Cyprus Free Press Website Attacked

graph1Guess we must have done something right because within 24 hours of NCFP being launched online, the 1and1 webshost server was swamped by requests for access. Between 11pm and 12am of the Sunday 23th August 2009 launch day suddenly there were 720 visits. Up until then the day’s visitor count would have been around 1000, good for any website. The next day by the afternoon there had been over 9000 visitors and the website server stopped working so the newspaper became unavailable. As this server hosts other websites including they too became unavailable.

Cyprus 44 bulletin board had a thread entitled “North Cyprus Free Press” which became “hot” with over 2000 visits. On that thread whilst there were a few negative comments (see the debate section) the majority were supportive. People seemed happy that there was going to be an outlet for free expression. They seemed concerned that the NCFP had been temporarily halted but were assured that it would soon be back. One insightful comment was that as we have no advertisers, and were not dependant on any revenue, we should not be particularly worried about downtime. It was then that Cyprus 44 went down.

graph2When they eventually came back there were two “hot” threads noticeably missing:  “North Cyprus Free Press” and Hans Doeleman’s thread “The Net is Closing.” Han’s article was quite technical but it basically disputed a statement that a 3G dongle allowed hackers to be anonymous.  Han’s website,, was down for a while and he was told that in his case there had been a DDoS attack. Simply put this means that someone who has taken illegal control of perhaps thousands of PC sets them all to try and access a website at the same time. This means that no one can access it.

Looking at the NCFP website log you can see that we were getting 100s of visitors from places such Norway, Sweden and Brazil. Contrary to many people’s expectations only 1 out of 9000 visits was from the Rest of Cyprus. A similar DDos attack seems to have resulted in Cyprus 44 being forced to remove the two threads when they began to receive 10,000s of requests.

So who is behind these attacks? The owner of Han’s web host company contacted me yesterday and it appears that he is helping to narrow down who the culprit is. It seems to be an individual with a grudge rather than the current government who seems to be refreshingly different in their approach to some of the more doubtful practices left unchallenged by the previous government.

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