Web hosting firm DreamHost was hit with a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack this week, when it briefly hosted the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer. The incident followed DreamHost’s resistance to requests from the Department of Justice for details of anti-Trump protesters.
The Daily Stormer was kicked out by its former long-term hosting partner GoDaddy some ten days ago, following protests after the disturbances in Charlottesville, but popped up this week on DreamHost with a new domain, PunishedStormer.com. This sparked outrage, and likely led to an attack which took all 400,000 sites hosted by DreamHost offline. Twitter user @BakedAnon claimed this as an action against “domestic terrorism”. Daily Stormer is not currently visible on the clear web, but has promised to move to the dark web.
Bash the fash
DreamHost has complained that it was unaware of hosting Daily Stormer, and that it suffered, along with its legitimate customers, from an unwarranted vigilante attack.
The company is committed to hosting anything which is legal in the US, and provides a platform for white nationalist sites National Vanguard and Northwest Front, but it says Daily Stormer was already on a blacklist for previous violations. The Nazis snuck on board on Wednesday night, using an automated credit approval system, and were removed once DreamHost identified them.
“The Daily Stormer was once a customer of ours - many years ago,” said a DreamHost statement published on Ars Technica. “We did ask them to take their business elsewhere, again many years ago, as a result of a Terms of Service violation.
“Unbeknownst to us, they signed up for domain service with us again yesterday for a domain name that was similar to dailystormer.com. The site owner took advantage of our automated signup form to register a domain name and once again become a DreamHost customer. This activity is specifically forbidden in our Terms of Service.”
The DDOS attack happened because ”determined internet vigilantes” didn’t wait for DreamHost to act, but took action against the hoster and all its other customers. ”We were ultimately able to declaw that attack, but the end result was that most of our customers experienced intermittent connectivity issues to their sites today,” said the statement. “Services have been fully restored across DreamHost.”
Daily Stormer takes its name from Der Stürmer, the German Nazi Party’s tabloid newspaper of the 1930s and 40s. It provoked concerted protests after its editor Andrew Anglin published a post from arch-troll weev, attacking Heather Heyer - the protester who was killed by a car driven by a white supremacist during demonstrations at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville on August 12.
Since that time, the site has registered a series of domains, including dailystormer.wang, dailystormer.ru, dailystormer.lol and punishedstormer.com as a series of registrars bowed to pressure to remove each one.
Among those terminating Daily Stormer accounts are CloudFlare, a provider which has traditionally hosted extreme content in the name of free speech, and the Russian regulator Roskomnadzor which demanded the closure of dailystormer.ru.
Before being hit with DDOS, DreamHost had been celebrating a win against the Department of Justice (DoJ), which had been demanding it release information on visitors to http://www.disruptj20.org/, a site which coordinated protests against the January inauguration of President Trump.
The DoJ had been asking for the IP addresses of 1.3 million people who visited the website, but has dropped that demand. However, the District of Columbia is still asking for some details. DreamHost may appeal against that decision.