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Overnight ‘crippling load’ on Royal Dutch Shell plc.com website

By John Donovan

As regular visitors will be aware, this website, which is operated on a dedicated high traffic server hosted in the USA,  is being brought down on a regular basis. By coincidence or otherwise,  it often seems to happen when we publish negative information about Royal Dutch Shell, such as in WikiLeak cables, or revelations concerning Shell Malaysia whistleblower, Dr John Huong.

“Distributed Denial of Service attack, it is when a server is bombarded with so many requests that it can’t respond to legitimate traffic.”

We suffered another “event” overnight. The following is an extract from an emailed warning notice from our server hosting company in Dallas. Note that the traffic to the website was “under a crippling load that was preventing support staff from accessing and investigating this matter.”

This message is being sent to notify you that your server royaldutchshellplccom (70.86.44.66) has experienced the following event: We have received a monitoring alert for this server stating that ************ is no longer working. While the server is online it is under a crippling load that is preventing us from accessing and investigating this matter. Please stand by while I forward this ticket to our data center so they may restore remote connectivity to this server.

So, is it a problem caused by the popularity of the site, or deliberate coordinated denial of service attacks by an unknown party?

If it is Shell, they would have farmed the dirty tricks assignment out to a third party, as they have in the past (and been caught doing so). We know for certain that an aggressive counter-measures team has been set up and targeted on us and our website. We have a Shell internal document confirming this fact.

It is a federal crime to carry out a cyber attack and we might consider notifying the FBI except for the fact that Shell has used specialist facilities in Pittsburgh, partly funded and staffed by the FBI, as part of its response to our lawful activities. Shell’s head of security in the USA Frank T. Garcia, is a former senior FBI official, which perhaps explains the special relationship.

There is also a possibility that it is a case of mistaken identity. It is the only Royal Dutch Shell Plc .com website in existence and some activists in a foreign land corrupted, polluted and plundered by Shell, may think that this is the official Royal Dutch Shell Plc website and wrongly believe they are attacking Shell. That would be ironic.

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