New Delhi: A South African news website, Daily Maverick, claimed to have been subject to a cyber attack on Wednesday (August 23) after publishing a report that said Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was unhappy not to be welcomed by his South African counterpart when he landed, and even refused to leave the plane.
“Since publishing, Daily Maverick has been subjected to a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack,” the publication said on X (formerly Twitter).
” A DDoS attack is described as a malicious attempt to disrupt the normal traffic of a targeted server, network or website by overwhelming the target or its surrounding infrastructure with a flood of internet traffic,” it explained.
“Several hours ago, the site suddenly went down. We picked it up very quickly and started identifying a massive distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. We investigated and found it was coming from a whole host of Indian servers,” said Daily Maverick’s security coordinator at 11:30 pm IST on Wednesday.
According to Daily Maverick‘s report on Tuesday, when Modi landed at the Waterkloof Air Force Base, he refused to leave the plane because a cabinet minister, rather than President Cyril Ramphosa, had come to welcome him. Ramphosa, however, did welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Daily Maverick said on Wednesday night that though the attack was ongoing, the publication had managed to put a firewall in place and put the website back up.
“It was obvious that the purpose of this attack is to deny the people of India access to this story as no attempt was made to hide the source of the attack,” Daily Maverick‘s editor-in-chief Branko Brkic said. “This left us with no option but to block the entire domain of India to protect the integrity of the site.”
The website is currently not accessible from India. “Daily Maverick has been investigating ways to make the article accessible to India but the attack is so large, it’s proving difficult,” the publication stated.
Despite these attempts and subsequent denials by Deputy President Paul Mashatile’s office, Daily Maverick stands by its story and will continue to report on developments, Brkic continued. A spokesperson from Mashatile’s office had told WION, “Every aspect of what the Daily Maverick reported is a lie” and that the deputy president did not go to the airport to “appease” Modi, but was there as planned.
Modi is in South Africa to attend the BRICS summit.