Website Attacks Ultimately Benefit Global Atheist Convention
A major and sustained Distributed Denial of Service(DDoS) attack on the Atheist Foundation of Australia (AFA) last week caused a major disruption, took down both the AFA and Global Atheist Convention websites and forced the organisation to move its online operations to another server.
The attack came in the wake of the Atheist Foundation’s announcement that in the first three weeks after the official launch, 1,000 tickets have been sold for The Rise of Atheism Global Atheist Convention to be held in Melbourne next March. The Convention will be the largest gathering of atheists and other freethinkers in Australia’s history.
With a stellar line-up of international and local speakers including Richard Dawkins, Peter Singer, PZ Myers and Catherine Deveny, the event was already attracting world-wide attention.
As news of the attack broke online in The Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and a number of other major newspapers, the publicity generated spread news of the Global Atheist Convention broadly.
“Thanks to the AFA technical team, we were able to get our Convention website up quickly to take advantage of the huge wave of interest generated by the news reports,” says Nicholls.
Ironically, while the attack was almost certainly aimed at silencing the Atheist Foundation’s call for a more secular Australia, the resulting publicity has only highlighted the importance of freedom of speech and rational debate.
“We don’t know who launched the attack on our websites – and they certainly succeeded in taking us out of action temporarily – but ultimately, the result has been positive. There’s been overwhelming support for the Foundation and the Convention on internet forums, and we’ve had a sharp spike in ticket sales” says Nicholls.
On a humorous note, a group of Facebook atheists –
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=192282495574 – has called for non-believers and advocates for freedom of speech to respond to the attacks on the AFA’s websites by participating in a global co-ordinated minute of prayer on 8 November. The aim is to inundate God with so many useless requests that it will cause him to go offline as a result of their DDOS (‘Divine’ Denial of Service) assault.
Atheist Foundation of Australia Inc
Private Mail Bag 6
Maitland SA 5573
Australia – (08) 8835-2269
International – +61 8 8835-2269