Apple Daily said its websites for both Hong Kong and Taiwan were hit by DDoS attacks on Saturday.
IP addresses reveal that attacks originated from China, Russia, and France, according to Michael Yung, CIO of Next Media, the parent company of Apple Daily.
Starting 1pm on Saturday, traffic to the Next Media website became increasingly huge that access to Apple Daily and other contents of the firm was significantly slow, Yung said, adding that audiences could only view text content via the newspaper’s mobile app.
The firm’s website was restored at 6pm after several hours of fixing, Next Media said.
According to Yung, small-scale attacks to the Next Media website are frequent but much more severe ones come before the June 4 commemoration and July 1 protest every year.
Next Media said the attack is an act of harming freedom of press and but that won’t stop the organization from defending it.
While Anonymous reportedly confirms that the attack came from the mainland Chinese government, Next Media said the identity of the attacker remains unknown at the moment because IP addresses identified could be fake.
There’s also speculation that the attack’s related to Sunday’s “Free Speech, Free Hong Kong” protest organized by the Hong Kong Journalists Association.
The protest is a response to recent moves that are seen as compromising editorial independence and freedom of speech. Of late, Commercial Radio fired its outspoken host Li Wei Ling while Chinese-language newspaper Ming Pao replaced its existing chief editor with a Malaysian journalist who’s not known to the local community and media industry.