At the beginning of this year, a cyber attack was perpetrated on the website of the university magazine Observant. The anonymous perpetrators found certain articles ‘racist’ and ‘transphobic’.
The website was already shut down from 11 to 13 January, but Observant is only now coming to terms with it own website outside so as not to hinder the ongoing investigation.
According to the magazine of Maastricht University, the aim of the perpetrators was to silence the editors. Observant would be accused of ‘false journalism and hateful opinion articles’. The magazine would also offer a stage to the ‘extreme right’. Furthermore, the anonymous perpetrators threatened to take the website off the air again if something is published again that they do not like.
Lack of evidence
The cyber attack was claimed in an English-language email to the editors, sent two weeks after the shutdown. Observant took that e-mail to the police. The investigation has since been halted due to a lack of evidence, but according to Observant it was mainly due to a lack of time on the part of the detectives. The perpetrators were not found by cyber specialists from the police, but they are almost certain that it is a purchased DDos attack.
The DDos attack, in which the server is so heavily loaded that a website becomes inaccessible, was supported by student group Feminists of Maastricht. That group was previously concerned about the language in Observant and then accused the magazine of ‘transphobia’.
A cyber attack is considered a crime and can lead to a prison sentence.