Net demonstrators have been crippling a politically progressive Internet service provider with a denial of service attack, which is being waged in protest of a Basque separatist Web site.
The Institute for Global Communications--IGC--has been under attack since this weekend, said Scott Weikart, acting executive director of the ten-year-old site whose mission is "to expand and inspire movements for peace, economic and social justice, human rights, and environmental sustainability around the world by providing and developing accessible computer networking tools."
The attacks are coming in response to a site that the service hosts, the Euskal Herria Journal, which advocates "self-determination" for French and Spanish Basques.
At first, people sent letters of protest, accusing the EHJ of supporting terrorists, Weikart said. But beginning this weekend, protesters turned from mere words to attacks with bits and bytes, intended to at least slow down, if not shut down, IGC.
"There's been an effort of a lot of folks, most of them Spanish or in Spain to bring our servers down," he said. Attackers have been using forged and invalidly formatted email as well as other methods to jam up IGC.
Weikart added that he doesn't mind the letter writers. In fact, he said, the letters have prompted the staff at IGC to review whether it should continue to host EHJ. But IGC doesn't want to take down the site merely in response to the denial of service attacks for fear that would encourage others to set IGC's political agenda.
"We don't want to legitimize attempts to bring our service to its knees by censoring one site or another just because attackers don't want it," he said. "We don't want to be controlled."
But other ISPs have not been that cooperative in tracing the attacks, suggesting instead that IGC simply drop the Basque site, according to Weikart.
With customers having so much trouble using the service, Weikart noted, "we're considering suspending the site just to be able to continue to operate and provide a full set of services to our users."