News / Asia

More Questions than Answers About China Internet Outage

FILE - A man uses a computer at an internet cafe in Hefei, in China's Anhui province on March 16, 2012.
FILE - A man uses a computer at an internet cafe in Hefei, in China's Anhui province on March 16, 2012.
Chinese Internet users are now able to access numerous websites including Baidu and Sina Weibo after the country once again experienced massive outages Tuesday.

According to the China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), which “operates and administers country code top level domain of .cn and Chinese domain name system,” the cause was due to malfunctions with the servers that manage the .cn name system.

China’s state-run news service, Xinhua, hinted that the problem could have been caused by hackers because Chinese web surfers were rerouted to an IP address associated with Dynamic Internet Technology (DIT), a company that provides, among other things, software to help Chinese web surfers get around the so-called Great Firewall.

The company was founded by Bill Xia, a practioner of Falun Gong, a banned group in China. Xia emigrated to the United States and started DIT. The Voice of America is a client of DIT.

The latest outage was the second major disruption in five months. Last August, a denial-of-service attack caused large portions of the Chinese Internet to go dark in what in what Beijing called the “largest ever” hack attack on Chinese sites.

"China Internet Network Information Center no doubt learned some valuable lessons as a result of the August 2013 outage, where they found that it was internal Chinese hacking competition which disrupted the .cn domain,” said Christopher Burgess, CEO of Prevendra, Inc., an Internet security firm.

“In this instance, speculation of a 'foreign hand' will be high, as the outage was caused by Domain Name Service changes which rerouted traffic to a company, Dynamic Internet Technology, well known for their anti-censorship web services tailored to evade the 'The Great Firewall of China’," he said.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said during his regular news briefing that he “noted” reports of Falun Gong involvement in the hacking, but said he did not know who was responsible.

"I don't know who did this or where it came from, but what I want to point out is this reminds us once again that maintaining Internet security needs strengthened international cooperation. This again shows that China is a victim of hacking."

However some think the problem stems from the Great Firewall itself.

"This is the result of China's DNS hijacking system," said Xia in an email. "This system is part of China's Great Firewall."

He said the system is used to block domains the Chinese government disapproves of.

"This time, the DNS hijacking system targeted all domains instead, for a few hours, thus the break down," he said.

Greatfire.org, a website that monitors web censorship in China, also said theories that DIT was behind the outage had little merit.

Instead, the website said the outage was likely caused by what they call “DNS poisoning,” which is used to block users from certain addresses. In essence it scrambles the numbers during the process of converting a website name into IP numbers, sending people to the wrong website.

“One hypothesis is that [the Great Firewall] might have intended to block the [DIT] IP but accidentally used that IP to poison all domains,” the group wrote in a blog post.

The group said they sent a website address to a public DNS server run by Google. The group said that outside China, the address was converted properly, but that inside China, they were sent to a DIT IP address.

“The bogus response,” the group wrote, “could only have been returned by [the Great Firewall].”

You May Like

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Firozali Mullar from: Tanzania
January 26, 2014 6:24 AM
Snowden’s latest statements come just days after President Barack Obama responded to public outcry by announcing changes to how the US government conducts electronic surveillance.

Although Obama did not talk in length about Snowden in a speech that remained largely unapologetic for the activities of the NSA and others, he did say that “If any individual who objects to government policy can take it into their own hands to publicly disclose classified information, then we will not be able to keep our people safe, or conduct foreign policy.”

Anger against Snowden is reportedly less restrained amongst members of US intelligence agencies, with BuzzFeed reporting one anonymous Pentagon official as saying “I would love to put a bullet in his head."

"I do not take pleasure in taking another human beings life, having to do it in uniform, but he is single-handedly the greatest traitor in American history," said the unnamed individual.

Snowden remains adamant that his actions have helped America, saying that “due to extraordinary planning involved, in nine months, no one has credibly shown any harm to national security [arising from the leaks].”

He also acknowledged that although his life may be in danger he is happy to have brought the topic of mass surveillance to the attention of the American public. “It may sound trite,” he told the New Yorker, “[but if] I end up disgraced in a ditch somewhere, but it helps the country, it will still be worth it.”

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debatei
X
Shelley Schlender
July 24, 2014 6:43 PM
In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Death Toll From Israel-Gaza Conflict Surpasses 700

Gaza officials say a shelling hit a compound housing a United Nations-run school in the Gaza Strip, killing more than a dozen people, during an Israeli offensive in the area. Heavy fighting between the Israeli military and Hamas militants continued on Thursday, pushing up the death toll. So far, more than 730 Palestinians and 35 Israelis have been killed in the conflict. VOA's Scott Bobb has the latest from Jerusalem.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Researchers Target Low-Cost Avatar Technology

Scientists at the University of Southern California Institute for Creative Technologies say 3-dimensional representations could revolutionize social media. Elizabeth Lee has more from Los Angeles.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid