Cyber criminals target union website in run-up to conference

Cyber criminals are targeting the Public and Commercial and Services Union’s (PCS) website as it prepares for one of its most important annual conferences in its history.

The union has announced that, as delegates begin to gather
in Brighton, it’s facing a sustained and well-organised denial-of-service
attack that has seriously affected access to the site.

The attack started on 11 May and has meant the website has
at times struggled to cope with average hourly traffic 1,000 times greater than

The union says its main priority is to fix the problem so
that its members and other visitors can access information about its campaign
for the alternative to the government’s cuts and updates from its annual
conference which opens on tomorrow (18 May).

Delegates to the conference in Brighton will be asked to
back a national strike ballot over cuts to jobs, pensions and pay, and for the
union to work with other trade unions to co-ordinate the action for maximum

The DoS attack means the site is being overwhelmed by
’false’ traffic from computers programmed to repeatedly try to access pages.
This has had no effect on the security of data held on sections of the

The union continues to work with its web development company
Pixl8 to thwart the attacks and ensure normal service is resumed as soon as
possible. In the meantime it is directing members and site visitors to Facebook
and Twitter for updates.

Pixl8’s MD Alex Skinner said: “DoS attacks remain a continual
threat to those operating websites. The challenge is putting measures in place
that ensure continual availability of a website while minimising the impact to
legitimate users. We have seen an increase in this type of activity in recent
months and this particular attack is one of the largest we have

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: “This is a
clear attempt to undermine our union at what is a critical time. Whoever is
doing it might succeed in slowing our website down for a few days but they will
not silence our members who are determined to fight the government’s unfair and
unnecessary cuts.”

The conference will be held at the Brighton Centre.

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Paul Colston


Paul Colston

Managing Editor, Conference News & Conference & Meetings World.

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