Сөз бостандығын қорғау халықаралық қоры
Международный фонд защиты свободы слова
The International Foundation for Freedom of Speech Protection

Cyberattacks on the Media: A National Security Matter

24 january 2024

Statement from the International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech "Adil Soz"

The International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech "Adil Soz" expresses deep concern over the increasing number and scale of cyberattacks targeting media outlets and journalists' social media accounts. A significant uptick in such incidents has been observed: our  monitoring recorded 32 cases in 2022, and the number rose to 52 in 2023. Prominent and respected media outlets, including Kursiv.Media, ProTenge, Atameken Business, Obozhayu Shishkin_like, and others have been targeted.
This escalating trend poses a threat not only to media freedom but also to the global reputation of our country as a democratic country, adversely impacting our standing in international rankings. The frequency and intensity of these cyberattacks undermine media outlets efficiency, striking a severe blow to the economic viability of media organizations. The resulting disruptions render normal operations of media, with websites and accounts becoming inaccessible, reader engagement plummeting, and editorial offices incurring substantial financial losses, amounting to tens of millions of tenge.
The attackers employ a multitude of tactics: DDoS attacks, spamming, hacking of email and social media accounts, creation of fake profiles, bot-driven assaults, mass unwarranted complaints leading to the blocking or suspension of media accounts, unauthorized dissemination of personal data, cyber-bullying, and telephonic spam. As technology advances and the cost of such illicit services decreases, we can only expect an escalation in these attacks.
The International Foundation for Protection of Freedom of Speech "Adil Soz" views these attacks as a deliberate hindrance to the legitimate professional activities of journalists. We urge law enforcement agencies to initiate criminal proceedings in such cases proactively, based on media reports, even without direct complaints from the affected journalists.
These cyberattacks pose a threat not just to media and journalists but to all citizens of Kazakhstan, who are constitutionally entitled to freely access information. If decisive action is not taken promptly, the information security of the entire nation will be in jeopardy.

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