Editor’s note: This article was updated 9/4/2014 at 5:15 p.m. EDT to include latest update from Tux Machines publisher.
The DDOS attack that has rendered the popular Linux site Tux Machines virtually unreachable for nearly two weeks, now seems to be affecting sister site TechRights. Roy Schestowitz, publisher of both sites, told FOSS Force that the attack on TechRights began at about one o’clock Friday afternoon GMT.
“…an hour ago I got some automatic reports and some messages from readers saying that Tech Rights had gone offline,” he said. “I then checked logs, grepped on ‘NT’ (all the zombies are [running different versions of] NT), and saw pretty much the same pattern as on Tux Machines.”
As of eleven o’clock this evening EDT, both site were reachable from FOSS Force’s offices in North Carolina, but we’ve been unable to determine if this is because the attacks have ended or if this is only a temporary reprieve.
This latest round of attacks comes as Schestowitz was having some success handling the situation with Tux Machines. “A friend helped me today as we explored lots of tools and set up a test VM on which to test filtering methodologies,” he said. “Many hours were spent on this today and it helped stabilize parts of Tux Machines, including the front page (most of the time).”
Since the attacks began, the front page has been mostly unreachable and visitors to Tux Machines have been being redirected to a special page on TechRights with information about the ongoing DDOS attack.
Late last night, before the attacks moved to TechRights, we contacted Schestowitz for an update on the situation at Tux Machines and were told, “The attacks on the site became much heavier and more sophisticated overnight. I’m still managing to stop much of it, but just because I’m up all night.”
At that time, FOSS Force was told that Schestowitz had enlisted the aid of a security expert in Finland, but that they were having little luck thwarting the attack because “…the attacker keeps changing strategies.”
Since the attacks on Tux Machines began, there has been some speculation that the actions are actually aimed at Schestowitz himself, or more specifically against TechRights, which covers the politics of free tech in a way that has often been controversial. Tux Machines, a more benign site, perhaps best known for its function as an aggregator supplying links to news and other articles on Linux and free software, was started by Susan Linton about ten years ago. Schestowitz and his wife Rianne purchased the site nearly a year ago.
“Rianne takes it harder than me,” Schestowitz said, “but that’s probably because her skin is thinner than mine and I have been under DDOS [attacks] before.
“What bothers me the most, to be honest, …[is] the fact that we may be losing regular readers — and not knowing when all this mess will stop. It has been about 2 weeks now, much longer than any DDOS I experienced before.”
Update: About one o’clock on Saturday, October 4, we asked Roy Schestowitz if his sites’ DDOS troubles were over after being able to connect with both sites numerous times without difficulty over about a ten hour period. He replied: “Tux Machines was down for 10 minutes or so until around 5 minutes ago when I added new rules. TechRights has not been knocked so far today, but definitely these attacks are not over. Sometimes we nearly run out of swap (4 GB), which puts the server at risk of falling over completely. I hope the attacker if getting bored and will move on soon.”