China blames Internet outage on hacking attack
China blames Internet outage on hacking attack | PCWorld
Tuesday"s Internet outage in China is dividing experts over what caused the networking error, with
authorities calling it a hacking attack, and others blaming it on the country"s censorship systems.
The outage briefly crippled the Internet in China, with many local websites inaccessible to users.
User traffic was mysteriously redirected to a U.S.-based IP address belonging to a company that has
hosted software capable of circumventing China"s online censorship.
The networking error, which only lasted a few hours, affected at least two-thirds of China"s
websites, according to Qihoo 360, a software security vendor in the country.
On Wednesday, local authorities said a preliminary investigation found that a hacking attack caused
the outage. China"s National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team is continuing
to investigate the matter.
On the same day, China"s state-controlled Xinhua News Agency published a story quoting security
experts whodemanded authorities do more to protect the nation"s Internet infrastructure.
Others experts, however, believe the error may have been caused by a glitch in China"s notorious
censorship systems, also known as "The Great Firewall."
China routinely blocks sites with content critical of the nation"s government, including Facebook,
Twitter, and The New York Times. Tuesday"s Internet outage, however, rerouted traffic to an IP
address belonging to Dynamic Internet Technology, a U.S. company whose site is also blocked by
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include The Epoch Times, a publication banned in China. It also hosts Freegate software that can
help Chinese Internet users view sites blocked in the country.
Some are speculating that hackers hijacked a root DNS (Domain Name System) server in China to
reroute all user traffic, said GreatFire.org, a group that monitors China"s Internet and opposes the
But in a Wednesday posting, GreatFire.org dismissed such claims, noting that a public DNS server
operated by Google had also been affected by the networking error. During the outage, users trying
to access the Google DNS server from China were also rerouted to the IP address from Dynamic
"Some are suggesting Dynamic Internet Technology is behind the outage. However, hacking into a
root DNS resolver is not enough to cause this outage," the group said. "They have to hack into GFW
(The Great Firewall)."
Instead, authorities may have tried to block DIT"s IP address, but accidentally ended up rerouting all
the nation"s traffic to the address, the group added.