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BBC, others mock mass cyber-attack on Labour – get schooled by expert

A “botnet with IPs on every continent” launched assault on Labour’s servers – BBC response was attempt at humour

On Tuesday, a ‘very serious’ mass – and international – cyber-attack was launched on the Labour Party’s computer systems. The attack was designed to completely disable Labour’s systems during the general election period – and in spite of Labour’s protective systems blunting the worst of the assault, it still had significant effect.

The BBC’s Norman Smith responded, not with comments about the worrying nature of an incident aimed at hobbling one of the UK’s major parties during an election – and the party challenging the status quo – but with a quip:

Smith was ‘quote-tweeting’ the Mirror’s Pippa Crerar, who also questioned the significance of the attack – and seemed to suggest Labour was using it as a distraction.

But Sky tech correspondent Rowland Manthorpe gave the mockers short shrift.

First, Manthorpe turned his fire on the failure of journalists to recognise the seriousness of the incident:

Then he detailed the frightening scale of the attack – and its international nature:

Finally he schooled his flippantly ignorant fellow journalists on how such classifications really work:

The real facts of the matter are clear. With Labour already starting to surge in the polls, someone – someone with access to ‘a botnet with IPs on every continent’ – tried to shut down Labour’s systems the critical and volatile general election period.


At least one journalist treated the incident with the gravity it deserved. Others – well, less so.

As with Boris Johnson’s enormous mess on Remembrance Sunday, it’s easy to imagine how different that reaction might have been had it been the other party involved.

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  1. Well like I continually warn Labour supporters,the BBC should be scrapped and privatized. Yes 👍privatization a word that I believe will deal with the BBC and let the culture of the BBC try to survive in the marketplace of sink or swim.Lets see how that culture of the Establishment survives under the sink or swim philosophy of so many of the BBC high flyers support for the the rest of us.Why should we the public pay for a establishment mouthpiece of poor quality garbage The torys have privatized anything and everything.. Why do you think they have kept the BBC out of the bidding process?When it comes to Torys the BBC will always be part of the the the club and damaging to any Labour government… Get rid…!

  2. Joseph – a privatised BBC would only save viewers the licence fee, it wouldn’t alter its political bias.
    How on Earth does the BBC being owned by a rich Tory supporter – like the rest of the MSM – help us at all?
    There is no super-rich secret socialist waiting in the wings to buy it.
    Restrict to one share each to prevent rich investors buying them all? Buyers will still mostly be the people who can easily afford and typically buy shares, as in all sell-offs – more Tories.
    We need to fix the BBC with honest oversight, not make it even easier for the 1% to control it.

    1. David poor quality journalism and establishment bias….will never be reformed and conservative by nature and politics.Its not a strategic industry and adds nothing to entertainment knowledge or culture…apart from the fawning grovelling to the Establishment and the Royals of course.The BBC Tv and radio would never survive without subsidising the lot of them and on that I can predict a carve up and meltdown of the BBC has we know and suffer..,No investor would be willing to throw money at another lame duck broadcaster with a world service and little prospect of raising revenue for a hopeless basket case.We have made many promises in our manifesto and running a anti Labour broadcaster should not be one of them

      1. Sorry Joseph,but I think you are wrong on this one,David has it right,the BBC needs to be fixed with honest oversight,not make it easier for the 1% to control it.

    2. Absolutely, David. I’m afraid Joseph on this one can’t see the wood for the trees, and has become totally obsessed by the domestic News and Current Affairs output, which is actually a part, if important part, of what the BBC provides.

      All you have to do is retune your DAB radio and listen to what comes up if you want to know what broadcasting without the BBC would be like – acres of the same pap with very little variety. It is the Beeb that is the key source of variety

      What is happening has been about the undermining of the BBC’s independence in order to introduce more direct political control. You are absolutely right handing it over to the plutocracy would be a massive exercise in cutting off a nose to spite the face.

      Of course, amongst all the general whining about the license fee is the hard fact that it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than anything in the commercial sector – which you pay for indirectly and with your time taken up be inane advertising. I thought good socialists supported the concept of the greater efficiency in the provision of public services, and the idea of availability unlimited by cost -?

      1. Am I the only one who is finding it hard to post pro-Labour comments on the BBC News website in Have Your Say?
        2 elections ago the Tories paid a USA Democrat techie £250k to post multiple fake comments there in response to pro-Labour comments (he admitted this in the Guardian on the Saturday after the election).
        So is it Tory dirty tricks again or just pure volume of traffic?
        Labour should get on the case.

      2. Any journalist worth their salt is bound to have a political view and a bias. The BBC should therefore make public the political persuasions of their journalists and have left and right on any political program so that we can see left being questioned by right and vice-versa.

    3. “…a privatised BBC would only save viewers the licence fee, it wouldn’t alter its political bias”

      This is true but BBC is far more than UK outlets. As well as world service it has a ‘charitable’ propaganda arm BBC Media Action that works around the world to spread/preach western ideology and foment dissent against govs not aligned with west/UK.

      1. Maria I stopped watching the BBC abroad because whoever controls the BBC the values they push are always conservative and propaganda of might is right especially if we work together with American friends to obliterate whole country s IT really does not have to be this way ..BBC Asia covering SE Asia and the Pacific mainly covers documentrys and Business but finds time to Hammer the Labour party ,Jeremy Corbyn and of course the compulsory AS scam.. Naturally from a moderate conservative life has they know it.viewpoint.You are correct to point out that uncle beeb are not as benign as some think!

  3. BBC radio 4 news at 1700 described it as the kind of attack a reasonably knowledgeable person could conduct from their bedroom. I would certainly be willing to attend if a mass picket were to be arranged outside the BBC.

  4. Jim thanks for that and according to a friend(yes 👍 I still have 1)That type of attack cannot be put together from a hacker in a bedroom and he should know because he was involved in the dezign and defence of government systems here and abroad..He suggests some group have to have knowledge of our particular sytem etc?Very worrying….And our broadcaster the BBC…Shock..horror?……and we pay for that.??

  5. I don’t care if the BBC is privatised or not. I just object to having to bloody pay for it.

  6. Nothing but legislating closely-monitored impartiality on the MSM including the BBC will make a blind bit of difference.
    You think Murdoch and all the other rich MSM owners would even bother owning newspapers if it wasn’t for the political influence they wield?
    They hardly even make a profit.
    Jeezus, wake the fuck up.

    1. Exactly. Same as the issue of not seeing where Brexit actually came from. This is not a time to be suckered.

  7. The BBC should definitely NOT be privatised. It should be scrupulously monitored for bias and answerable to a fully independent monitoring group with powers to sack those responsible for gross transgressions, such as those who approved the broadcast of the ‘Is Labour Antisemitic’ documentary.

    1. Jack T, I’d go further because sacking them will be compensated for by a revolving door – BloJob lied in print, then stood for Parliament.
      Now we have a proven serial liar as PM.
      Lying to the public about politics is an affront to the very concept of democracy – done on the industrial scale of the MSM it completely subverts it.
      I’d go so far as to call it treason and jail the guilty.
      Nothing else steals our freedom like corruption in and around politics.

      Looking at “Daniel” on VD’s “Live Focus Group” talking about “Labour AS”
      I’m almost certain I’ve seen his face before and before he mentioned AS I guessed that was his angle… QT audience maybe?

  8. Victoria Derbyshire programme has a straw poll running right now. All except one claiming to be undecideds ffs.
    As if that was any indication of freedom from bias.
    At some point the question “Have you traditionally supported one of the two major parties and has that changed and if so, why?” is almost guaranteed.

  9. 13 profoundly mediocre people being asked “what kind of animal is most like X leader?” guided by some market research woman with a list of suggestions, as evidenced by the fact that quite a few picked the same animal.
    “Daniel” makes it more obvious he’s a Tory plant every time he opens his stupid mouth. Reminds me of someone 🙂
    The programme’s a farrago.

    1. This is the nature of vox pops. Ask a bunch of wallies a stupid question when the only accurate answer they could give would be ‘I haven’t a clue. I never use my brain’

      The Groan today, in one of it’s ‘Sympathy for the Plebs and the North’ pieces quotes somebody who says ‘I trust Boris’ as having some immaculate insight instead of simply being ignorant and deluded.

  10. A simple thing that the BBC *should* do : ban all correspondents from posting on Twitter. It would seem as elementary as security measures to prevent hacking..

  11. I can see why the banksters and investors will not leave Britain or the city of London whatever happens.No chance of a revolution here..We can’t even dump the BBC and radio without the sky coming in…Conservative thinking and the nostalgia connected to the BBC has dominated the discussion.We can mend the BBC…or fix the unfixable and we love the programes despite the obviously pro establishment mouthpiece especially at election time.Don’t mess with the BBC.I get it folks and they will be broadcasting for many years to come the same tired propoganda and lies and you and I will be pushing up daiseys and the revolution for socialism…we will fix it another day

    1. Joseph – Just because they’re out to get you doesn’t mean you’re not paranoid 🙂

      Sorry – but when paranoia gets to turning on itself and advocating Tory policy, it’s time stop and rethink.

      If, after that, you prefer privatised Murdoch etc. propaganda pap to the wider Beeb, properly balanced and independent, , so be it. But don’t wish that impoverishment on the rest of us.

      1. RH. Not everyone works for the government sunshine ..and I don’t think theres any Tory policy in dumping the BBC?And theres little chance of regulating the BBC or any of the others that routinely ignore the rules.Like I said its not going to happen and the BBC will carry on regardless promoting conservative values and propaganda…and you will have won the argument….simple

      2. ” I don’t think there’s any Tory policy in dumping the BBC”

        It’s not a stated policy, but the squeeze on its finances and the talk (like yours) of abandoning the licence fee is very much a gleam in the eye of the right.

        “And there’s little chance of regulating the BBC”

        Not if Tory policies continue to rule or if privatisation happens.

    2. “No chance of a revolution here”

      Fair enough. I’ll settle for a Labour government, and a radical re-balancing of the economy.

      ‘Revolution’ was always strictly for the birds and has a pretty bad record for turning the clock backwards, impoverishing even more people and killing a fair few instead of making progress.

      1. HRH “Revolution is strictly for. the birds ” “..Abandoning the licence fee is strictly in the eye of the right “..So to understand your lodjic comrade in the space of less than 1 hour I have turned from rabid lefty which you don’t like to being strictly for the right which you don’t like either?…Talk about facing both sides at once,are you a closet lib dem or are you just confused 😕…which I suppose is classic lib dem.Read your membership card which says” we are a Democratic socialist party ” and with that in mind we will win the election despite the BBC and conservative party.working together.

      2. “I have turned from rabid lefty which you don’t like to being strictly for the right”

        C’mon Joseph – get a grip. That’s not what I said at all. I’ve simply pointed out that the abolition off the model of the BBC is a desire of the extreme right. Which it indisputably is – and logically so.

        See comments on the distortions induced by all-embracing paranoia with your pretty barmy comments about my sympathy for the LibDems, which flies in the face of evidence and history.

        As said – get a grip instead of seeing everything in an incredibly solopsistic frame of reference about an imagined Labour Party that suits your predelictions. It’s not within your brief or ability to define ‘democratic socialism’. Try arguing your case instead.

      3. A quick PS :

        My comments about ‘revolution’ are very much about the end result usually being (a) not democratic and (b) not much to do with socialism as known in the real universe.

  12. If you want to watch a brilliant documentry,watch The life of water.The facts that we cannot live without it and its not just a lifeforce in its own right but has memory as well?…watch it you won’t find it on the BBC but its absolutely amazing….sorry If I am off message but I usually am!

    1. RH if I argue the case anymore Squawky will ban me for Hogging the space..But you really do need to calm down and study your membership card..Perhaps you should watch the amazing documentary “The life of water” A brilliant documentary and the filming and background of water flowing will help you to as you say”Get a grip “.There really are many health giving benifits of not watching the BBC or listening to the radio.You will find that your blood pressure will lower and your comrades may veiw you in a whole new light…solidarity comrade!

      1. No problem with the blood pressure, Jposeph – choosing the right bits of the excellent and varied BBC output (not the News) helps to keep it in limits. The excellent BBC 4 television output also provides a lot of similarly worthwhile and wide-ranging documentary material.

        Through the day, Radio 3 provides solace and stimulation not available elsewhere on the UK airwaves (others with different interests will also find something to suit).

        It might need a bit of fixing – but it ain’t broke.

    2. Do you mean “Secret of Water” on the Gaia website Joseph? You have to sign up to watch 🙂 Not for me, sorry.

      “Water – a living substance, the most common and least understood. It defies the basic laws of physics, yet holds the keys to life. Known to ancients as a transmitter to and from the higher realms, water retains memory and conveys information to DNA.

      However, water can die if treated poorly. Our use and misuse of this precious resource has altered the vital information it carries in unexpected ways. Influences such as sound, thoughts, intention and prayer, as well as toxins such as chlorine, structure water’s molecular arrangement – affecting all it comes in contact with. Prominent scientists help reveal the secret of water, allowing us to use this amazing element to heal ourselves and our planet.”

      1. David I didnt pay to watch it but thats another story,but I was impressed with the dialogue and the filming.Many people would be impressed to find that much of our ideas and thoughts are stuck in the same old beliefs and science.I am always keen to learn somthing new and documentrys and history fascinate me and hopefully educate.Obviously after watching many documentarys and the effects of pollution we then move on to politics….and thats a whole complicated conversation which includes how we are all to blame for the destruction of our planet and what to do about it.

      2. Joseph, sorry but there is no iota of science in that whole blurb I copied from the website and I’m confident the film will be as advertised.
        It actually makes me angry when god-botherers, ghost hunters, homeopathetics, faith healers and paranormal investigators mouth the word “science” – how fucking DARE they.

  13. DDOS attacks can be organised by one person in their home and either download a programme to do the attack or pay someone to do it for you. It’s one the simpler attacks that someone with a bit of knowledge can do and its not expensive from what I have read a couple of hundred quid and it’s done.

    As far as the BBC is concerned. There needs to be a radical shakeup of the organisation top down. Tony Hall has to go and so do all the heads of News and Current Affairs, producers and presenters. Let us have a scorched earth policy within this section of the BBC. News and Current Affairs is where the problem lies and this is what I would do.

    I would get rid of all staff from BBC TV News. I would then get rid of all Radio staff except for the World Service. The whole management of News and Current Affairs have to go. I would then start from scratch building a network of journalists (not presenters) that are trained in non biased reporting. I would also ensure the charter is changed so that bias in any story will lead to dismissal, whoever you are!

    I would also have an outside audit of the BBC on an ongoing basis to ensure standards are maintained. I wouldn’t stop investigative journalism but they would need to understand that such hatchet jobs that Panorama did about Antisemitism would have severe repercussions on the all who produced the programme. I might even cancel the whole programme.

    Did I mention I would get rid of all the staff in News and Current Affairs? Just wanted to make it clear!

  14. Reaching over the noise – Is Labour really “anti Semitic” ?
    Come to the premier of this crowdfunded documentary countering the fake accusations of anti-Semitism in the Labour Party
    Open Documentary Scene, Manchester.
    Sun 24 Nov 2019 12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
    The Briton’s Protection, M1 5L

    Are you sick and tired of the mainstream media dictating the narrative on the so called Labour antisemitism crisis? Do you want to have your say on the matter? We are looking for left wing and jewish speakers to attend our event to defend The Labour Party and denounce the establishment which has aligned itself with a foreign power to smear the opposition and it’s leader. The media pundits who are the mouthpiece of billionaire class have had their say… Now it’s time for you to have yours! You don’t even have to be a speaker to come along. You can attend just to listen as anyone on the left is welcome.

    1. “The Briton’s Protection” sounds sounds a bit tommy robinson to me – but I don’t get out much 🙂
      Are you sure about these people SteveH?

      1. “The Britons Protection’ is the name of the pub venue not a political organisation. Apparently its name originates from it being used as an army ‘recruitment’ venue. The inside of the pub is covered with murals commemorating the Peterloo Massacre.
        The pub was voted Best Pub in Manchester in the Pride of Manchester Awards in both 2008-2009 and 2009-2010. It is on the Campaign for Real Ale’s National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors.

      2. Thanks SteveH, sorry if I was over-wary. That name and some poor spelling & grammar (which I can’t seem to help associating with the right) on the page you first linked to fooled me. The documentary looks sincere and well crafted.

      3. David McNiven 13/11/2019 at 4:40 pm

        I don’t blame you for being sceptical, the name of the venue could best be described as unfortunate in this context.

      4. I’ve been to “The Britons Protection” as a student in Manchester. Fascinating🥇🥇🥇

  15. We obviously agree that the BBC is biased but have different ideas on how to respond.
    Sack journalists and they just go to another paper or station and cover their tracks better next time.
    Given the extent of the MSM stranglehold I think only independent oversight and criminalising political bias and lies can be fully effective.
    Just the statement that in government we’re going to be thinking along those lines, and thinking of making the legislation retrospective, would make journalists sit up and take notice.
    They’d do their best to make the sky fall in on us but we have the perfect defence:

    “We’re just taking steps to protect democracy and ensure honesty in the media.
    Only journalists, editors or owners proven in court to be criminally biased for or against ANY political party need fear prison – what’s your problem?
    Are you seriously demanding the right to lie to the people?”

    1. ” I think only independent oversight and criminalising political bias and lies can be fully effective.”

      Trouble is achieving ‘independent oversight’ and defining ‘political bias’ without getting into endless wrangling that will just fill the boots of the lawyer class. Material falsehoods are another matter.

      The current role of the EHRC in being suckered into investigating the Labour Party (and its head honcho being guilty of pre-judgement) doesn’t bode well for ‘independent’ regulation and oversight of such issues.

      There just isn’t a perfect solution – but one thing is clear : the older and imperfect version of Beeb oversight – despite an establishment bent – was actually better than what we now have.

      1. Political bias could only be proved by the serial falsehoods in the MSM that we need to criminalise.
        Seriously? You need me to dot every i and cross every t?

        “Independent” is essential to avoid political bias but complete openness and monitoring of the body tasked with oversight is as important to avoid any appearance of bias. It’s no use being independent behind closed doors.

        Nothing like the EHRC. Picking one example to prove a principle? Really?

        The conclusions you draw are pure bollocks.
        Fix your skirt, your agenda is showing.

      2. You can do better than that, David. And I don’t mean in the ‘talking bollocks’ stakes, which I don’t usually associate you with, even when the gout is playing up.

        As to the EHRC – I’m not ‘proving’ anything with one example – merely illustrating how independence in judgment isn’t easy to establish beyond dispute, and raising the question of what happens when accusations are disputed and he inevitable legal cases emerge where opinion rather than fact is involved. It is your model that raised the issue of criminal intent – which automatically leads to issues of litigation.

        I have no ‘agenda’. Just reservations. Feel free to disagree. Just as I do and did.

      3. No defining of political bias necessary – only published “material falsehoods” would be offered in evidence, quite obviously.

        It’s not in the nature of Labour to condemn anyone by claiming that the accusation against them is believed by so many that it must be true.
        It’s beneath us to behave like Tories and claim opinion as evidence.

        All rules of evidence would obviously apply, as with any criminal trial. The judge decides what evidence to allow or disallow but in an open public trial of journalist or journal for the serial publication of consistently politically biased falsehoods – why would the weight of evidence presented NOT be utterly irrefutable?
        It’s not like there’s a shortage of evidence.

        In all likelihood the accused will plead guilty on sight of the evidence to save costs.

    1. Good, wasn’t he? Sheep farmer. Watched it on the Beeb – live, I think – thought at the time the interviewer must have been having a fit.
      The Tory-supporting blonde hairdresser standing next to him was exactly what you’d expect – couldn’t even explain why she liked Boris.

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