Dirty tricks reported during Malaysian election

May 9, 2018 — Access Now’s Digital Security Helpline has received numerous reports indicating  a dirty tricks campaign is currently underway in Malaysia coinciding with general elections. Reports indicate that the mobile phones of opposition politicians and activists are being DDoS’ed with multiple automated calls per minute — effectively making their phones useless to communicate.

A DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack sends enormous amounts of phony traffic to a device, a website, or a server. Unable to handle the volume of traffic, the system becomes overloaded and prevents normal use. In this case, targeted politicians and activists could miss legitimate calls and be prevented from coordinating among themselves. For some, a DDoS attack is a nuisance, but at a critical moment like an election day it can have lasting consequences.

“This is the first time we’ve seen a DDoS attack on mobile phones during a critical time such as an election,” said Melody Patry, Advocacy Director at Access Now. “This new tactic is a clear obstruction to communications and seems in line with the controversial fake news law introduced recently, as an attempt to control information and silent dissent.”

About Access Now

Access Now’s Digital Security Helpline works with individuals, activists, journalists, human rights defenders, and organizations around the world to keep them safe online. We provide digital security advice and rapid-response emergency assistance. The Digital Security Helpline is a free-of-charge resource for civil society around the world. Our 24/7 services are available with support in eight languages.

Access Now (https://www.accessnow.org) defends and extends the digital rights of users at risk around the world. By combining innovative policy, global advocacy, and direct technical support, we fight for open and secure communications for all.