Dems question FCC's claim of cyberattack during net neutrality comment period

Dems question FCC's claim of cyberattack during net neutrality comment period
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A pair of Democratic senators are demanding answers from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on a 2017 cyberattack following a media report raising questions about the agency’s official story.

Sens. Brian SchatzBrian Emanuel SchatzDems rip Trump DOJ nominee who represented Russian bank The Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by Better Medicare Alliance — Expensive and brutal: Inside the Supreme Court fight ahead Dem senator: No argument will 'lay bare' GOP's hypocrisy on Supreme Court MORE (D-Hawaii) and Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenSenate Dems protest vote on controversial court pick On The Money: Fed chief lays out risks of trade war | Senate floats new Russia sanctions amid Trump backlash | House passes bill to boost business investment Hillicon Valley: Trump tries to quell Russia furor | Sparks fly at hearing on social media | First House Republican backs net neutrality bill | Meet the DNC's cyber guru | Sinclair defiant after merger setback MORE (D-Ore.) sent FCC Chairman Ajit Pai a list of questions about an incident last year during which the agency’s comment-filing website was taken offline after the late-night comedian John Oliver urged his audience to flood it with pro-net neutrality comments.

At first, it appeared that a mass filing of submissions caused the Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) to crash, but the FCC later said the site was taken down by a cyberattack.

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“[H]ave any subsequent FCC or third-party (e.g., vendor, contractor, or government agency) analyses or investigations verified that a cyberattack on ECFS occurred in 2017 and, if so, that the attack is best classified as a [distributed denial of service] attack?” the senators wrote in their letter. “If not, why was no investigation conducted? Please provide any and all reports, findings, and other relevant details of any such investigations.”

A spokeswoman for the FCC did not immediately respond when asked for comment.

The letter comes as the FCC's controversial move to rescind the Obama-era net neutrality rules officially takes effect.

Last week, Gizmodo released a report questioning the official story of a cyberattack in 2017 as well as a claim that the ECFS had suffered an earlier one in 2014 after another Oliver segment. Pai has said he relied on an assessment from the FCC’s chief information officer, David Bray, who has since left the agency.

Schatz and Wyden asked that Pai respond to their questions by June 27.