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[liberationtech] Avaaz, is this for real?

Andrew Couts andrew_couts at
Fri May 4 10:18:52 PDT 2012

Hi Steve - You're absolutely right that my article did not properly stipulate that the alleged attack is based on claims from Avaaz. I updated the piece this morning to better reflect the hearsay nature of the information. 

Of course, I also agree that they need to provide more information about the attack, and I don't understand why they haven't. I have repeatedly requested information from Avaaz about this, from both Sam Barratt, Avaaz communications director, and Dalia Hashad, who I was told by another Avaaz employee is overseeing the matter. Barratt has ignored my follow-up emails thus far, and I included the only statement he gave me yesterday.

At any rate, that's where it's at right now. 

Andrew Couts
Staff Writer
Digital Trends
acouts at

Twitter: @andrewcouts

 From: Steve Weis <steveweis at>
To: Andrew Couts <andrew_couts at> 
Cc: "liberationtech at" <liberationtech at> 
Sent: Friday, May 4, 2012 1:00 PM
Subject: Re: [liberationtech] Avaaz, is this for real?

Hello Andrew. Your article asserts that this attack is happening as fact, yet you say that Avaaz did not provide any additional information. Which sources and evidence did you base your article on besides Avaaz's own press release?

Claims of a "massive attack" are easy to confirm. Avaaz should be able to provide detailed logs of the attack, which can be verified by an independent security professional and corroborated by their hosting providers.

If this does turn out to be a targeted denial of service attack, that certainly doesn't take real expertise or significant resources -- it's cheap to rent a botnet. It's a big leap to claim that a state actor or large corporation must be behind it.

On Fri, May 4, 2012 at 9:18 AM, Andrew Couts <andrew_couts at> wrote:

Hi - I'm the author of that Digital Trends article. I have repeatedly asked Avaaz for more information about the attack, and they have either said "We'll know more soon," or completely ignored me. I believe there is simply not enough information available yet to make accusations of fraud in the press. But I am doing my best to get answers about exactly this. I'll send out an update if they respond.
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