Industry News

China’s Anti-Censorship Service Hit by First DDoS Attack

GreatFire.org, the non-profit organization helping Chinese Internet users bypass the censorship of the Great Firewall, reports that its mirror sites are flooded with 2.6 billion requests per hour, or 2,500 times more traffic than usual.

In a blog post, the organization admitted it was overwhelmed by the attack, which is the first disruption the company has ever faced.

GreatFire.org says the attack, which began on March 17, affects all of its mirror websites, the duplicate sites used to circumvent blocks in China – a workaround very similar to Tor’s, first banned in China in 2009. The sites are apparently using Amazon and Akamai technologies, but company confirmed.

“Greatfire.org began creating mirror sites in 2013 and now has 10, including a copy of Google, an uncensored version of Chinese microblog website Weibo, and a news website called Boxun that is often critical of the Chinese government,” the Wall Street Journal says in an article.

The organization does not know who is behind the attack and points to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ writes about how U.S. cloud service providers were facing a backlash from censors in China. The article also discloses GreatFire’s strategy to unblock websites and apps.

cheating china's great firewall

Source: The Wall Street Journal

The incident also coincides with increased pressure on the organization in recent months from the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

“We also know that CAC has put pressure on our IT partners to stop working with us. Recently, we noticed that somebody was trying to impersonate us to intercept our encrypted email,” GreatFire added.

The organization is asking for help to pay its operational costs.

“Because of the number of requests we are receiving, our bandwidth costs have shot up to USD $30,000 per day,” they said. “We need companies like Amazon to be on our side and, more importantly, on the side of freedom of speech.”

GreatFire.org is an anti-censorship group that monitors web blocking in China and campaigns against censorship.

About the author

Alexandra GHEORGHE

Alexandra started writing about IT at the dawn of the decade - when an iPad was an eye-injury patch, we were minus Google+ and we all had Jobs. She has since wielded her background in PR and marketing communications to translate binary code to colorful stories that have been known to wear out readers' mouse scrolls. Alexandra is also a social media enthusiast who 'likes' only what she likes and LOLs only when she laughs out loud.