Saving Country Music Suffers Cyberattack Over Morgan Wallen Article

Just a quick note,

At 8:00 am Friday morning (5-24), Saving Country Music suffered a coordinated, targeted, malicious, and catastrophic cyberattack that made the website inaccessible for over six hours. In sixteen years of operation, and over 8,500 articles published, an attack of this size and scope has never been experienced by Saving Country Music, and the website has never been unavailable for as long of a period.

Cyberattacks and hacking attempts happen all of the time on websites, especially ones the size of Saving Country Music that sit in a Goldilocks zone of being big enough to be an enticing target, but small enough to not have a massive IT team to deal with such attacks. Luckily, Saving Country Music has never been a victim of such things previously, aside for passing and sporadic intermittent outages most users wouldn’t even notice.

What was the target of this cyberattack? It was an article published on May 22nd called “Country Music Has a Morgan Wallen Problem. It Is a Complex One.” The article was targeted in a large scale DDoS attack of a scale the individuals pressed into duty to help fight it claim they have rarely seen. Without getting too technical, DDoS attacks work to take down websites by sending them so many requests from so many different IP addresses, all the requests can’t be fulfilled, making the website inaccessible.

Even after blocking a total of 24,062 separate malicious IP addresses, the cyberattack continued. Eventually, it was brought under control by blocking access to the Morgan Wallen article being targeted. This had to be done through a 3rd party, since myself and my IT team had lost access to Saving Country Music ourselves. The article still remains unavailable as the cyberattack could very well be ongoing as we speak.

Since bringing the cyberattack under control though, the website is working fine, and provisions have been made to make sure similar attacks cannot happen again. But of course, you never know. This attack circumvented redundant amounts of safeguards and firewalls to successfully knock out the site for six hours. Both the attack and the efforts to resolve it and prevent future attacks comes at a great expense to Saving Country Music as the price of playing poker in the online publishing business continues to rise.

Not to be too dramatic, but I do take this cyberattack as an attack on the freedom of speech and expression, and an affront to engaging with important topics in country music with depth and nuance.

There is no reason to believe that the Morgan Wallen camp or anyone affiliated with it was involved in the attack at all. It was likely a fan or a group of fans. But after consulting with the team that helped mitigate the attack, I can say with a high degree of confidence that the attack was purposeful, targeted, and malicious. Otherwise, they likely would have targeted the home page of the website, login pages, etc. as opposed to a specific article published 48 hours previous.

It’s unfortunate how many overlook how Saving Country Music handled the news of Morgan Wallen recently being turned down by the Nashville City Council for an outdoor sign, which was the impetus for the article. Though many Morgan Wallen fans were angry at the article, some Morgan Wallen critics characterized it as too apologetic and defensive of his actions.

Either way, Saving Country Music will not be deterred from sharing important news, commentary, and criticism on country music. Though an attack like this may hurt in the short-term, it steels the resolve even more to speak the truth and address important topics heading into an increasingly dangerous and confusing future, regardless of the consequences.

Thanks for reading,

–Kyle “Trigger” Coroneos

© 2024 Saving Country Music