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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
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 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 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.

AppleAndroid