Not OK: Feminist website hacked on International Women's Day
International Women’s Day is meant to educate the world about the impressive women’s history that’s often left out of high school textbooks, while raising awareness for how much work still has to be done. In an unacceptable move, hackers proved just how far we are from equality but using the day as an excuse to attack a feminist website, Femsplain.
The Kickstarter-backed website was taken down for about three hours yesterday by a DDoS attack (distributed denial of service). Basically, a hacker or group of hackers orchestrates a huge surge of incoming traffic to the site, overwhelming the server and making it unavailable to normal visitors.
The blog started in late 2014 as a place for women to discuss topics from online harassment to Gamergate. In a sad type of irony, the site itself has become a target for the very harassment contributors seek to escape. Amber Gordon, the founder of Femsplain, told The Verge that this sort of attack isn’t unusual.
“We constantly have people attacking us and attempting to bring our website down,” Gordon said. “It’s unfortunate but the reality of our mission… Unfortunately it happened on a day that’s meant to celebrate women.”
While these sort of attacks are far from unusual, the severity of this one makes her certain it’s linked to International Women’s Day. Several social media accounts have also taken credit for the attacks using the #InternationalWomensDay hashtag, so her suspicions are likely correct.
As depressing as this news is, there is an upside: Now thousands more people know about the website. In fact, Amber shared on her Twitter that enough people were motivated to donate to her site’s Kickstarter after the attack that they were able to upgrade their server, making Femsplain less vulnerable to attacks like these in the future.
Feminists: 1. Hackers: 0. Now that’s how you celebrate International Women’s Day.