Quantcast

«

»

Feb 17 2014

Oh, no! We’ve been dismissed by the MRAs!

Well, this’ll put me in my place. The Spearhead noticed that we were hit by a DDOS attack. Or didn’t notice. Whatever.

It just came to my attention that a few feminist-oriented sites went down last weekend, allegedly because of a DDoS attack. Anita Sarkeesian’s Feminist Frequency blog was hit, as was Skepchick, and the Free Thought network that hosts PZ Myers’ Pharyngula went down, too.

Interestingly, nobody seemed to care much, or even notice, which makes me wonder why anyone would bother targeting these sites in the first place. This little axis of feminism is one of the seedier, ramshackle outposts, as opposed to bigshots like Salon, Jezebel and Valenti’s Feministing. Maybe that explains why they were chosen as targets; without male techies on staff, they are doubtless easier to disrupt with low-tech attacks.

Weird. So nobody noticed or cared much, except for the Spearhead, where they noticed and cared enough to mention it. I rather like being one of the seedier, ramshackle outposts anyway, although I’m pretty sure the MRAs are dismissive of Salon, Jezebel, and Feministing when they feel like it, too.

I only found their post because David Futrelle mentioned it. Seedy and ramshackle is a good description of every MRA site, and I don’t read them much.

By the way, the people who do the tech stuff for FtB all happen to be men.

47 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. 1
    Sastra

    Interestingly, nobody seemed to care much, or even notice, which makes me wonder why anyone would bother targeting these sites in the first place.

    “Nobody?” Really? The internet is a very big place, I’ve heard. Maybe the areas outside one’s own particular circle of concern aren’t all seedy, ramshackle outposts which “nobody” goes to. It’s possible.

  2. 2
    The Mellow Monkey

    Salon and Jezebel are feminist “bigshots”?

  3. 3
    Cuttlefish

    Nobody visits FtB any more; it’s too popular.

  4. 4
    anteprepro

    “Seedier, ramshackle outposts”?

    Freethought blogs world Alexa rank: 25,032

    Skepchick blogs world Alexa rank: 209,942

    Feministing world Alexa rank: 64,383

    Spearhead world Alexa rank: 154,788

    Something glass houses something something.

  5. 5
    Rip Steakface

    they are doubtless easier to disrupt with low-tech attacks.

    FTB wasn’t really disrupted at all. There’s a five second redirect to a page that checks out your browser to make sure you’re a real person and not part of the DDOS botnet, then you move along to the site.

  6. 6
    fmitchell

    To pick apart another assertion:

    A “low tech” attack isn’t necessarily easy to counter. AFAIK the only way to stop a DDoS is to blacklist all the IP addresses involved in the attack. (Or shut down your Web site.) If the machines involved in the attack are zombies scattered all over the Internet, and attacks are standard TCP/IP connections (and not, say another IP protocol one can unilaterally block), admins have to sift through every IP connection to distinguish real traffic from attackers.

    Social engineering, i.e. conning people into giving up sensitive information or doing something stupid, is about as low tech as it gets; you only need a phone. Yet social engineering is definitely one of the most effective and devastating techniques. Just ask Kevin Mitnick.

    Clever is for Iranian nuclear facilities and megastores, not a sufficiently secure blog site.

  7. 7
    HappiestSadist, Repellent Little Martyr

    Mellow Monkey @ #2: For that matter, Salon and Jezebel are feminist? I suppose, to MRAs.

  8. 8
    anteprepro

    For that matter, Salon and Jezebel are feminist? I suppose, to MRAs.

    It’s funny because the only other person I explicitly remember using those exact two sites as prominent examples of “feminist sites” was Scott Adams. I wonder if it runs as a meme in certain circles? Or if that’s just independently the conclusion that non-feminists arrive at when they see sites that are less sexist than they are used to!

  9. 9
    Holms

    By the way, the people who do the tech stuff for FtB all happen to be men.

    Ah but you see, they are men that work with the FTB / feminist team, therefore they are actually manginas which count as ugly women.

  10. 10
    Jacob Schmidt

    Salon and Jezebel are feminist “bigshots”?

    Asking an MRA to define feminism is like asking a religious fundamentalist to define atheism; they take as broad a definition as possible, but usually only want to throw Hitler in your face.

  11. 11
    zmidponk

    Interestingly, nobody seemed to care much, or even notice

    Yeah, seemingly including most of the people who actually used this site (the only thing I noticed was a few comments asking about the weird screen that displayed for five seconds or so when the site was ‘under attack’, as well as noticing this screen myself, along with a temporary disruption to RSS feeds). The other two sites, Skepchick and Feminist Frequency, seem to have also been only down a matter of hours. This would actually suggest to me that the attempted DDoS attack, if it was directed against those three sites specifically, was simply an utter failure, but maybe I’m just being a ‘mangina’ who doesn’t understand techie stuff, like them wimmen-folk.

  12. 12
    doubtthat

    To paraphrase the great philosopher of the 20th century:

    Nobody comes here anymore, it’s too crowded.

  13. 13
    Jeremy Claywell

    I’ve been hearing about this reactionary stuff more and more. It’s coming increasingly from the right as well, especially from people like Stefan Molyneux and Joe Rogan (why is he considered a good source of information?) in fact, here is a retarded quote (paraphrase), Joe Rogan said, “I agree that women have been marginalized but men have been too…” What! When in the entire history of civilization (except for maybe some random tribes and cultures where there is a matriarchy) have men been marginalized? Men have been the ones calling the shots and subjugating women since the beginning of the agricultural revolution some 10,000 odd years ago. It’s stuff like this that makes me sad to live in America. Who wants to come to Scandinavia with me?

  14. 14
    Usernames are smart

    First they ignore you.

    Then they laugh at you:

    Interestingly, nobody seemed to care much, or even notice, which makes me wonder why anyone would bother targeting these sites in the first place.

    Then they fight you.

    Then you win.

  15. 15
    andrewbrown not the one from the grauniad

    Holms @ 9

    Does it say something that I initially missed the ‘o’ in count when I first read your comment? I seem to have overdosed on MRA BS.

    Anyhoo, time to go and clean up the mess after dinner, at least it’s worthwhile cleaning up that one!

  16. 16
    changerofbits

    Why does every MRA screed basically boil down to myopic opinion that is self contradictory?

  17. 17
    Muz

    Seedy & Ramshackle is one of the great comedy accountancy firms.

  18. 18
    hyperdeath

    The latest rumour is that Skepchick, FTB and FF weren’t targeted at all, and that they were just incidental victims of some wider electronic attack. Is there any truth to this, or is it just the latest addition to the Slymepit Mythos?

  19. 19
    PZ Myers

    Our tech guys figured out the precise mechanism of the attack, and it requires knowledge of the IP address of the server and intent to take down that specific host. It’s not something that can just happen accidentally, or that involves unspecified mass targeting that can take out innocent bystanders.

    Also, out of curiousity, our head tech guy checked out the Spearhead’s server configuration, and they are vulnerable to the same sort of attack that took ours down. If anyone knows them, you could let them know, and maybe they could contact our techs and we’d tell them how to protect themselves.

  20. 20
    rogerfirth

    I just perused a few of the comments over at the spearhead. Are those guys for real???? They read like a bunch of third grade boys on the playground. Virtually every one of their posts can be paraphrased “Ugh! Cooties!!!”

    Some of us grew up.

  21. 21
    hyperdeath

    PZ:

    It’s not something that can just happen accidentally, or that involves unspecified mass targeting that can take out innocent bystanders.

    So it’s just the usual Slymepit BS?

  22. 22
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    If anyone knows them, you could let them know, and maybe they could contact our techs and we’d tell them how to protect themselves.

    *conjures Joe Montegna*
    Because it would be a real shame if something were to happen.

  23. 23
    DBP

    Little outpost? I’ve never heard of the spearhead. They have heard of the three little outposts though. Someone at the spearhead has serious delusions of influence if they think they pull more weight than FTB, skepchick, and feminist frequency combined.

  24. 24
    zmidponk

    hyperdeath:

    So it’s just the usual Slymepit BS?

    Probably. There’s a link over in the comments at Spearhead claiming that it may have been just ‘collateral damage’ and links here:

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/2096720/attackers-use-ntp-reflection-in-huge-ddos-attack.html

    The only thing is, if you look at that link, it talks about a massive DDoS directed towards Cloudflare themselves, on Monday, which would be the 10th. But, if you consult the discussion thread that PZ put up about it, that’s dated the 9th:

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/02/09/someone-was-bored-tonight/comment-page-1/

    So, it seems PZ was telling folk about a DDoS attack that was happening the day before it happened, if you go by that narrative.

  25. 25
    Gregory Greenwood

    Maybe that explains why they were chosen as targets; without male techies on staff, they are doubtless easier to disrupt with low-tech attacks.

    Only a misogynist (and probably cis-sexist) MRA would assume that testicals are required to understand technology. The fact that they also try to think with the things explains much about their ideology.

  26. 26
    JJ831

    Maybe that explains why they were chosen as targets; without male techies on staff, they are doubtless easier to disrupt with low-tech attacks.

    And obviously someone doesn’t know what they are talking about. Sure DDoS are “low-tech” (that is, pretty much any script kiddie can do it), but that make dealing with them easier than any other attack. In fact, if your sole purpose is to disrupt service, there isn’t really any other attack worth doing.

    My main question is whether this was done using the common DNS attack or NTP. Kind of interesting NTP attacks are becoming more common these days.

  27. 27
    Marcus Ranum

    Throwing rocks is a low tech attack, too, but it works great. That’s why it’s been a popular low tech attack for a very very very long time.

  28. 28
    Tony! The Queer Shoop

    @13:
    No slurs please.

  29. 29
    David Marjanović

    Then they fight you.

    I guess that’s the DDoS attack.

  30. 30
    funknjunk

    Well to be honest, i did hardly notice. Mostly because when I went to Freethought Blogs, I saw a little DDOS popup which delayed my browser … (gasp) … 5 seconds or so before I was directed to your sites once again. My, my, I was so inconvenienced. I’m not a techie. I don’t know what you and Ed and anyone else who administers the site went through to keep it up. But I myself did hardly notice the ATTACK.

  31. 31
    holytape

    @ The Mellow Monkey: Non-Hypothetical

    It’s not that hard to determine what MRA consider feminists, just follow this simple dichotomous key.

    1. Does the site allow people with uteruses to speak?
    Yes. – Feminist.
    No. – A good manly man site.

  32. 32
    yazikus

    Seedy & Ramshackle is one of the great comedy accountancy firms.

    I love it. There is a sketchy shop in my town called the CD Exchange, which I always read as Seedy Exchange, which fits it entirely.
    -
    I really wonder, why do they rate Feministing as bigger than FTB? I read the sight for a while years ago, but the focus was really younger feminists, specifically, not a broad range.

  33. 33
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    @yazikus:

    It was named after me.

    -CD

  34. 34
    vaiyt

    The attack prevented me from posting one comment.

    Then I tried again about ten seconds later. It went through.

  35. 35
    Jackie

    So we’re hanging out in the Mos Eisley Cantina of Feminism? I love it! Yay for hives of scum and villainy!

  36. 36
    The Very Reverend Battleaxe of Knowledge

    Seedy & Ramshackle is one of the great comedy accountancy firms.

    It’s located in the same strip mall as the law firm Dewey, Cheatam, and Howe.

  37. 37
    thesandiseattle

    By the way, the people who do the tech stuff for FtB all happen to be men.

    Yes but are they ‘manly men”? Any most righteous asshole would only recognize a manly man. :-)

  38. 38
    miller

    Could someone (kindly) explain to me why Jezebel doesn’t “count” as a feminist website? I mean, I mostly see it in the context of friends linking feminist posts on Jezebel (eg there was this one about misogyny among gay men, and another where a man tried making a female profile on OKCupid). I understand that Jezebel has also posted some really messed up stuff. Is that what disqualifies them?

  39. 39
    Robin Grant

    I think I just got Poe’s corollaried.
    The comments here imply that “The Spearhead” is not satire.Which, on first reading is not what I thought.

  40. 40
    Hershele Ostropoler

    How long has it been since Valenti was involved with Feministing? A year or two at least, I think.

  41. 41
    yazikus

    Miller,

    Is that what disqualifies them?

    I think they are really just a sort of pop-feminism site (or feminism-lite maybe), and they do post some terrible things. I don’t go there to find challenging feminist material, but I might to catch up on what is going on with celebrities, music, and other pop-culture happenings.

  42. 42
    Seize

    @ miller 38

    Jezebel is part of Gawker Media (it was originally birthed as a spinoff “girly Gawker”) and shares Gawker’s editorial ethos of “today’s gossip is tomorrow’s news.” Thus they tend to go off half-cocked on editorial pieces, particularly on nights and weekends when it’s just one writer-editor responding to news and leads as things come up. There’s a definite feminist slant, but it’s very pop-feminist.

    What makes Jezebel legitimately feminist is the site’s history and the lasting impact that history has had on the commentariat. First of all, Jezebel has always had a tiered commenting system, where “preferred” commenters are the comments which appear to the casual browser, and you have to dig about to find the comments by the hoi polloi. Back in the day, preferred posting privileges were conferred and revoked by the mods, and the mods were then and are now extremely feminist. You would remain unpromoted or be demoted for even the slightest infraction, which meant that all of the comments which float to the top were free from slurs, bodysnark and many of the other common misogyny which can make comments sections on strange websites such a drag. It was never a safe space, but it felt that way, and so a fairly radically progressive and feminist community grew there.

    Even though these rules are no longer enforced by mods, the commentariat at Jezebel skews toward feminism, body positivity, queer inclusitivity, and a fairly high reading level. While there have been several mass exoduses of commenters in response to awful editorial oversights over the years, the space is generally seen as a less threatening and less academic place for new feminists or other curious folks to spar with people who express a broad spectrum of feminist and feminist-ish ideas. I myself hewed my sword there back in the days of yore (and was demoted and banned several times before I learned to comport myself passably).

    At the core of Jezebel’s commentariat culture there is the Groupthink subforum for offtopic posts, which is where promoted commenters come to either throw down over disputes or socialize with friends. If you read the comments and opinions on Groupthink, you’ll find them much more in line with a truly feminist web space, complete with the same intersectional issues which plague other feminist watering holes.

    And that is more than you wanted to know about Jezebel!

  43. 43
    anteprepro

    Thank you, Seize. That was informative.

  44. 44
    Captaintripps

    I noticed, but it was actually less annoying than the stupid mobile theme bug y’all have had going on for months. At least with the DDoS I knew there wasn’t anything new I couldn’t get at.

  45. 45
    gregranzoni

    Given how dishonest Anita Sarkeesian is in the first place why would anyone care?

  46. 46
    chigau (違う)

    gregranzoni #45
    What are you talking about?

  47. 47
    Alex the Pretty Good

    @ Chigau
    10 gets you one gragranzoni never saw her “Tropes vs Women” series, but [name redacted for good taste] said so in a YouTube video heavily criticizing the series … and [name redacted] has teh testicals so it must be true.

Comments have been disabled.