back to article Scottish news site hit by 'DDoS attack' in run-up to elections

Politically-motivated hackers are thought to be behind a DDoS attack on alternative news site Newsnet Scotland, launched on Monday days before Scotland is due to vote in fiercely contested national elections. The attack, if that's what it is, left the site unavailable from Monday afternoon into the early hours of Tuesday …


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  1. fridaynightsmoke

    "unchallenged voice of Unionism"

    Yeah, you never hear ANYTHING in support of Scottish independence, do you? They should set up some kind of 'Scottish National Party', and have the leader of it always be on telly, or something..

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Soar Ablal!!!!

    Pointless waste of time and effort if anyone really tried to "silence" newsnet. Calling it a "news" site is a bit of a stretch. All it is is a gang hut for discontented Scottish nationalists who are fed up spamming proper newspaper comments threads, and in that sense it does a good service to the nation. It was set up because the nats felt no serious paper gave them any positive coverage. However, Murdoch's Sun is now backing them, which probably makes them happy.

    The top story there is a year-long whine about how somebody once said something disobliging about Scots on Radio 4's Any Questions - check it out once it's up again if you don't believe me.

    Actually once it's back up again, expect the top story to be how MI5 and the BBC plotted to silence them and it's all a plot from them in London.

    Anyway. let's hope it's fixed soon so the paranoid spammers have somewhere to hang out together again.

    1. John Ruddy

      Conspiracy theorists

      That site shows the twisted logic of some nationalists - I'm just waiting for the story that gravity is a LONDON PLOT to keep Scots stuck to the ground.

    2. Havin_it

      Are you trying to say...

      "Saor Alba"?

      If you must spout Gaidhlig in these pairts, do try to get it right, tapadh leibh awfully. That percussive sound you just heard was a million^H^H^H^Hhundred^H^H^H^Hdozen^H^H^H^Hcouple of teuchters facepalming.

      (I agree with your post though. Apologies if the mangling was deliberate)

  3. Graham Marsden

    Slightly off topic, but...

    Like many people I've just received the No2AV campaign's latest missive through my front door.

    Now read this and see all the lies, half-truths and misinformation it contains:

    1. fridaynightsmoke

      I've seen that;

      and I find it amusing that the image implies that No2AV are wrong because their leaflet uses an Ad Hominem argument, which is an Ad-Hom argument in itself...

      My 2p: The campaigns for 'Yes' and 'No' are both full of crap, on the whole. Crap in politics; who'd have think it.

      1. Graham Marsden


        I think you mean "Ad Hominem Tu Quoque" rather than just "Ad-Hom", however the point is that the attack on Nick Clegg at the end is just the No campaign going beyond the bottom of the barrel because they've already scraped a hole in it...

  4. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

    Surely another mistake

    Shouldn't it be "shoo-in"? Does one "sic" cover everything? Do I hear an "ibid"?

    1. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Surely another mistake

      Yes it should. Frankly I couldn't be arsed/took pity on them. They were probably quite angry when they wrote it and not thinking straight.

      Anyway, strictly speaking it should be 'shue-in', in reference to Elizabeth Shue's last-minute casting in Leaving Las Vegas.

  5. Pen-y-gors

    Minor technical correction

    > ...on Monday days before Scotland is due to vote in fiercely contested local elections.

    In fact Scots are due to vote in a fiercely contested NATIONAL election on May 5th - the local elections in Scotland have been postponed to 2012. The Welsh General Election also takes place on the same day and that's pretty fiercely contested too.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    Newsnet Scotland

    I'd rather it was there than not.

    Certainly, it's (slightly) more pro-SNP than neutral, but it's /still/ more objective than the venting of the disgruntled Yorkshiremen Eddie Barnes and David Maddox in The Scotsman -- a paper now vying with the Daily Record for Labour Rag of Year; a feat that takes some doing.

    In the absence of any truly objective reporting, all you can do is read them all - NewsNet included - and make up your own mind.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    AV isn't PR

    "country adopts proportional representation (specifically alternative vote) "

    hmm. I can't seem to select the FAIL icon.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Soar Ablal!!!! Anonymous Coward are you Iain Gray/Ed Millibrother/Fifi/Grahamski/Gardham

    One by one your support will be no more and the real news will get out.

  9. weegie38

    Psephology Fail

    AV is NOT proportional representation. In fact it can be even less proportional than first past the post.

    1. MGJ


      The correct name for the GB electroal system is plurality not FPTP, since there is no post in plurality (but there is in AV). If you want a shorthand form, why not 'MVW'; most votes wins.

      AV is the wrong answer to the wrong question. Modernising electoral systems is about more than changing how you elect your Isle of Wight sized area's representative. Weirdly, since Scotland spent a couple of years agreeing what it would use in 1999, there has been not a peep out of anyone that the system should be changed. We've had 2 coalitions and a minority, and its all gone pretty well.

  10. John Savard


    While any kind of DDoS attack, or any other malicious interference with the Internet is a serious crime, I am puzzled that Scottish nationals, commenting on Scottish politics, are doing so on a server hosted in Denmark.

    This raises suspicions that they are attempting to violate Scottish laws, such as limits on spending during elections - particularly as the article noted that they did this on legal advice, not because the Danish hosting company was cheaper.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    No DDOS involved according to the hosting company - yet the hosting companies comment was quickly deleted and the story still stands - most likely because it was their own fault? :D

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Piffling trouble up North...

    Loving your first two posters comments. It's easy to post that Newsnet Scotland is just a gang hut for paranoid Independistas railing against the Union. Sums it all up into a neat little ball to dismiss as unimportant. It is also woefully ignorant of the what passes for the Media in Scotland.

    We have no independent media in Scotland other than the couthy union busting Sunday Post and the Press and Journal. Our print media is owned and operated by Trinity Mirror, Johnstone Press, Newsquest and News International. Our state broadcaster by very dint of its being is dedicated to preserving the Union.

    Since the SNP won the 2007 election they have been subjected to an hour-by-hour blast of relentless negativity from the media and the what passes for an opposition.

    Rather than take my word for it, simply do a google search on the words 'SNP' 'accused' and then try to form your own opinion, rather than opt for the clichéd response of the first two posters.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The truth will out

      At least you don't think that "The Sun" is a newspaper then, or is their support for the SNP supposed to be unionist irony?

      You can do a google search on "anything and accused" or "anything and conspiracy" and get the same sort of results. Only a complete idiot thinks that googling is the same as researching.

      The Shetland Times is not owned by any of the above media organisations either!

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Saor Abla [sic] and others

    Press coverage in Scotland

    Daily Record - Labour supporting

    Herald - Labour Supporting/Unionist

    Scotsman - Unionist

    BBC in Scotland. Politics reporter who is an exLabour Councillor

    Political Editors whose living used to be coaching Labour Politicians for media

    Newspapers are all very well, they are private entities.

    The BBC is another matter.

    we pay for it, but it is guilty of very biased coverage, with very few exceptions. Sally Magnusson, when the SNP got elected, her first question to Alex Salmond was "What do you say now to the frightened people of Scotland"

    Labour apparatchiks tend to get soft questions and no interruptions, the other three parties tend to get hammering and not allowed to finish their questions.

    News stories showing the Labour group leader in Holyrood (he is not the Scottish Labour Leader, that position does not exist, Labour is purely a London party) in a bad light often do not make the news (Insulting the Monenegrins, accusing them of genocide and war crimes) or are slanted (running away from 9 protestors that the Annabel Goldie, when she encountered them, talked to and left on a handshake) to make him look better than he is

    A common tactic is to show Iain Gray asking a question in FMQs, but not to show the answer, which often blew away the ridiculous "point"

    When the Labour leader of Glasgow City Council left in very odd circumstances, the BBC had a journalist (once a spin doctor for Labour) on to assure us nothing was wrong and that was the line they carried.

    When Iain Gray accused the SNP of wasting money on a rebranding on a Scottish inward investment body, the BBC political editor said he had seen the papers. It turned out not to be true, and we have yet to hear the BBC's man explain himself.

    Given this, and given the indifference of the UK national newspapers to what is going on up here, this is why Newsnet exists. In has carried articles from Greens, Communists and others and would even, I'm pretty sure, carry articles from the Labour POV on the election as it has today with Colin Fox of the SSP, as long as any assertions were backed up with real numbers, something Labour have been a bit bad on this election

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Freedom of Speech

    Also I don't understand why, in an article citing Freedom of Speech so much, why they're deleting all the comments that say it was NOT a DDoS attack and that it was their own mistake.

    Way to go, they've basically lost any form of credibility they may (or may not) have had.

    1. Hanimex
      Big Brother

      Are you being ironic?

      DDoS attacks are all about the signal-to-noise ratio (so to speak) of incoming requests... Much like the useless, trolling comments of people posting "you imagined it all" (etc) in the comments section. Delete them all, I say! Well, okay, keep maybe the first one but the rest are not adding to the discussion.

      The newsnetscotland team have been careful to say they are not 100% certain that it was a DDoS attack - so, yes, maybe snafu. But it is interesting the that Caledonian Mercury online newspaper ( is now also sufferring an outage of some sort. What a run of bad luck those websites in Scotland are having tooday

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. John Ruddy

    Danger, Will Robinson!

    Troll alert! Looks like someones escaped from their padded cell on the Scotsman's comment section!

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Just keep prosecuting these criminals

    The more hackers they send to prison the better.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Hackers? Where?

  17. Anonymous Coward

    Media bias

    Regarding "SNP accused" - try Googling the Scotsman ( for each main political party. You should find the following:

    - "SNP accused" : 11800 results

    - "Labour accused" : 1660 results

    - "Conservatives accused" : 217 results

    - "Lib dems accused" : 300 results

    And of course, let's not forget that the Herald editor was allegedly snorting cocaine with Stephen Purcell. To give it an IT angle, reading either of these papers alone is akin to reading Microsoft-sponsored surveys on Linux - pretty worthless on its own.

    What's great about this bias, though, is it allows cretins such as Iain Gray to rise to the fore, over-promoted and underqualified, and rather perversely undermine the media tactics that seek to promote him. Even with all the king's army and all the king's journalists behind him, his feckless demeanor is apparent to anyone with an IQ in double digits.

    This media strategy also means the SNP have to be twice as good as anyone else to survive - one false step and they're mince - which means we get better government. A win-win situation!

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @other Anon Coward

    I don't see signs of post suggesting it wasn't a DDOS being removed.

    I do see some ABUSIVE posts being removed, but I suspect that that is common practice for many MODS

    There are posts there saying that it's a bit early to call as a DDOS, or if it is, it might not be targetted at Newsnetscotland, so your argument kind of falls down there

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Most of them have been re-added. Had an email from their site saying their moderators are entirely separate from their editorial team, so they would appear to be lacking a little in communication. The posts were from their hosts then anyone else who was interacting with the host. Those comments have since been readded a couple of hours later on.

      An edit to one of the host's posts from the moderators says they will be updating the main story soon. That was over an hour ago, though.

      It wasn't a DDoS.

  19. DialMfoMurdo

    Newsnet Scotland

    What Hanimex says.

    The fact that Newsnets host server reported that the site had collapsed under the weight of 'unprecedented activity' is surely cause enough for a wee bit of alarm?

    Yesterdays 'top story' was a fairly succinct analysis of BBC Scotland's preceived bias. Given that we have a daily dose of Reporting Labour it's no wonder Independence supporters, myself included and thought the worse.

    It's fairly obvious from some of the comments above that since Devolution, not too many of our Southern brethren are aware of what politics is like in Scotland. Give Newsnet a chance, it's an honest attempt to redress open bias.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Call them what you want

    Call them hackers or crackers or DDoS attackers. As long as they go to prison for violating law, it's all good.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Looks like it wasn't a DDOS, but a coding issue. Thank flip for that

    Loony dribbling CyberNat that I am, I've been on El Reg to long to not know that seeming DDOS attacks can happen for innocent reasons

    And before the Reg staff get too cocky, they published Ted Dziuba.

    No one's perfect, just sayin'

  22. pica

    Dead again

    Down again with a DB connection error.

  23. Whitter

    No DDoS occurred

    From their website:

    The Newsnet Scotland website has resumed almost normal function and the cause of the service disruption yesterday has been located. We have been able to decipher that it was not a D DOS attack as previously thought. The matter is that an adjustment to a module created in essence a shortcut which caused a high volume of cyclic activity in the server. The hosting service provider had no alternative but to shut down the site.

    In an attempt to resolve the problem quickly and respond to a high volume of enquiries regarding service disruption we sought advice from external advisors and understood the feedback information as confirming an attack. You will be pleased to know that we have put procedures in place to ensure that such a problem does not occur again.

    We regret the inconvenience caused to our readers by not being able to access our site and we would also like to thank our readers for the ongoing support seen through the numerous comments and constructive criticism on our outage article. We stand by our hosting provider's decision to remove the site from view till the problem was resolved.

    We regret alarming our readers and would like to reassure you the team remains committed to bringing you new fresh news content every day. Newsnet Scotland will continue to report and publish our perspective on Scottish politics and current affairs.

    1. John Ruddy
      Thumb Up

      Good News

      So presumably now an apology to all those organisations which were smeared by staff and commentators in saying that this was a deliberate attack by their political opponents?

      Thought not.

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