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

Turkey's Erdogan: Women Not Equal to Men

Speaking at conference in Istanbul, President Erdogan says Islam has defined a position for women: motherhood More

Ahead of SAARC Summit, Subdued Expectations

Some regional analysts say distrust between Pakistani, Indian officials has slowed SAARC's progress over the year More

Philippines Leery of Development on Reef Reclamation in S. China Sea

Chinese land reclamation projects in area have been ongoing for years, but new satellite imagery reportedly shows China’s massive construction project 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.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid