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Vera Files reports cyberattack after publishing story critical of Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Media organization Vera Files said it was targeted by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack shortly after posting a story critical of President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday, January 21.

The news organization published a story which said President Duterte and his daughter, Davao Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, did not completely disclose their joint deposits and investments at the Bank of the Philippine Islands when they were mayor and vice mayor of Davao City, respectively.

According to Ellen Tordesillas, president of Vera Files, their site went down approximately 30 minutes after the story "Duterte, Sara fail to declare P100M investments, documents show" went online on their site.

The site's administrator reported to Vera Files that it was a DDoS attack after the situation had been resolved. A denial of service attack is a type of cyberattack which seeks to take a site or service offline by disrupting the services of a site or service's host.

The Vera Files report says Rodrigo and Sara Duterte "omitted to fully disclose their joint deposits and investments at the Bank of Philippine Islands, which conservatively exceeded P100 million in some years, when they were mayor and vice mayor of Davao City, our analysis of bank records submitted to Congress and their annual net worth declarations shows."

Malacañang spokesman Harry Roque has since called on Vera Files to provide "certification from the bank that the statements are genuine."

"Alam namin na sensitive yung article na ito, (We know this article is sensitive)" Tordesillas said, adding that the site went down at least twice as a result of the attack. The first downtime was resolved after midnight of January 22, but the site went down again in the morning.  

The DDoS attack appears to be the second one against them, following an earlier instance back in late 2016.

The story has since been reposted on Vera Files' Facebook page.Rappler.com

Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.

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