Foreign Policy Blogs

Chinese Human Rights Orgs DDOS'd

I hate to keep poking at China but… OK, that’s a lie. Their government acts like thuggish authoritarians online, and so I like poking them. Unlike equally nasty but more impoverished countries like, say, Turkmenistan, they have the cash to actually make bad stuff happen.*

The government – or “patriotic” hackers – DDOSed a bunch of human rights activist websites in China recently. I missed that in the hullabaloo over the Google breach.

A DDOS – distributed denial of service attack – is one of the easier to implement and harder to stop techniques out there. Get a bunch of slave zombie computers from your friendly neighborhood botnet, and have them constantly hit the target with perfectly legitimate requests for pages.

It’s like having a car with gradeschoolers constantly asking “are we there yet?” Except you have thousands of them, and you have to give a gracious, detailed response to every one. And you can’t threaten to turn this car around RIGHT NOW.

This is why you need to have your computer patched. You do not want to be one of those kids.

Fortunately DDOSs do no lasting damage, as they are simply going to knock you off the air for a period of time. Network admins can also attempt to shut off the sections of the Internet from which the flood is coming.

Of course, there’s no proof that the Chinese gummint was behind it – it is perhaps just a coincidence that enemies of the regime are being hit.

Maybe you should throw the targets a few bucks to keep their spirits up.

A Top Ten list of some of China’s probable cyberwar exploits.