News / Asia

US Website Claims Attack by China-Based Hackers

Screenshot grabbed from the Change.org, an organization that helps activists around the world to support of their causes.
Screenshot grabbed from the Change.org, an organization that helps activists around the world to support of their causes.

A U.S.-based website that helps activists around the world to support of their causes says it has been targeted by a China-based hacking attack.

The attack comes days after the website put up a petition calling for the release of well-known Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who disappeared into policy custody, earlier this month.   

The website Change.org is a platform that allows anyone, anywhere, to launch an online social action campaign. One recent successful campaign in South Africa called on the government to condemn rape against lesbians.  More than 100,000 people signed that petition.

Last week, some of the world's leading art museums posted a petition on the site calling for the release of Weiwei, whose petition quickly acquired more than 90,000 signatures.

Founder Ben Rattray says it was not long afterwards that Change.org ran into trouble, specifically from "denial of service" attacks that overwhelmed the website and temporarily shut it down.

"A denial of service attack is a coordinated attack by hackers to use many different servers and IP [Internet protocol] addresses, in certain geographic areas, to make multiple requests, oftentimes hundreds of thousands of requests, in a small period of time, to take down another website," explains Rattray. "The reason we know this originated from China is that all the IPs that were used, the Internet Protocols [addresses] that were used, that accessed the site to launch the attack, were from China."

He says, in the past, governments and individuals have been unhappy with campaigns hosted by his site, but this is the first time it has been attacked in this way . He says he is most concerned that hackers within China can disrupt service for activists around the world who want to organize online.

"It affects the entire site. We have thousands of campaigns running, from hundreds of people and non-profits around the world, Rattray says. "And, all have been equally affected by the attack."

Rattray says his company has been in touch with American authorities about its latest problems, but has not had direct communication with the Chinese government.  At the same time, he notes Beijing’s numerous comments about Ai’s case that accuse the international community of meddling in Chinese affairs.

Ai is a prominent Chinese artist who disappeared into police custody in Beijing, earlier this month as he was preparing to board a plane for Hong Kong.  Chinese authorities have given Ai’s family no official notice of his detention or what charges he faces.  

Chinese officials have said Ai is being investigated for suspected economic crimes, but have given no details.  The Chinese Foreign Ministry has had no immediate comment on the latest hacking issue.

Lawyer Liu Xiaoyuan, who is close to Ai, was released Tuesday after about six days in detention.

Some of Ai’s associates remain in custody, along with dozens of human rights activists and lawyers who have been netted in a crackdown on dissent that began after Internet postings urged Chinese people to hold protests similar to the Jasmine Revolution demonstrations that brought down governments in the Middle East.

You May Like

Reports of Mass Murder on Mediterranean Smuggler’s Boat

Boat sailed from Libya with 750 migrants aboard and arrived in Italy with 569 More

Video New Thailand Hotline Targets Misbehaving Monks

Officials say move aims to restore country’s image of Buddhism, tarnished by recent high profile scandals such as opulent lifestyle, drug and alcohol abuse, as well as child sex abuse More

Study: Dust from Sahara Helped Form Bahama Islands

What does the Sahara have in common with a Caribbean island? Quite a lot, researchers say More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train in Underwater Labi
X
George Putic
July 25, 2014 7:25 PM
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 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