The Great Firewall of China known for censoring/blocking websites in the country was under DDoS attack  which caused a blockage of Reuters’ news website in China on Friday.

The content of the website was blocked and could not be accessed later on Thursday. Both the English and Chinese version were inaccessible but the Chinese clients could still see financial news and data feeds as reported by the news item by the blockage.

Websites such as Bloomberg, The New York Times and The Wall Street journal are blocked by the Great Firewall and hence an average Chinese user cannot see them online.

china-blocks-reuters-website-after-ddos-attack-on-the-great-firewall-of-china

“Reuters is committed to practicing fair and accurate journalism worldwide. We recognize the great importance of news about China to all our customers, and we hope that our sites will be restored in China soon,” according to the news agency.

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An Internet user, preferred to be called by the name Xiao Biao usually evades the censorship of the Chinese web in order to browse overseas sites said that he was not able to load the new Reuters site along with a couple of other media websites on Friday.

The greatest fear of the Chinese Communist Party is the consequences that will occur if the people all over the country access a number of different opinions.

The user told that page keeps on refreshing but does not load thus preventing any information to be seen on the Chinese version of the Reuters news website.

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Although he mentioned that he was able to load the Wall Street Journal Chinese-language website.

Threatened by media reports

The government is afraid if the any of the media reports gets out of the control of the state, says Xiao Biao.

He also said that the government in pursuit of ruling over attempted to shut off various voices thus keeping the population of the country ignorant of the news and opinions held outside of China.

Shi, a Shanghai-based netizen said she was forced to give up on accessing international news websites. She gave an example by saying that whenever she tries to open up the CNN website, the page takes hours to loose causing me to lose my patience.

Also, she told that the videos on CNN keep buffering most of the time and so she has given up visiting the website.

A Guangdong-based netizen Jia Pin told that if Chinese users want to have access to overseas news websites, they should set up circumvention tools on their computers. He said the users must go over the Great Firewall in order to view these kinds of websites.

Denial-of-service attack

The Reuters’ sites were blocked a day after GreatFire.org – an anti-censorship website that is based overseas – announce that it has been attacked severely by a distributed denial-of-service attack.

On Thursday, the group said on a blog that to perform such an attack, the website has to be flooded with a huge number of requests which causes web pages to crash.

It also said that the attack is brutal and shows censorship by harsh force. Also, the attack caused its bills to be sent with the service provider Amazon that summed up to about $30,000 per day.

The attack was made on March 17 right after the Chinese government showed their irritation over what the group was doing and labelled the site as an “anti-China website set up by an overseas anti-China organization.”

It said that website has allowed the Chinese users to access many blocked websites by using a mirror-website technique.

Hu Jia, a Beijing-based right activist who also uses circumvention techniques said that the user find a way to evade the Great Firewall faster than the government comes up with more ways on blocking the websites.

Hu said that the bad guys get an upgrade and then the good follow suit thus causing a process of pursuit like a cat chasing a mouse.

He said it is not known as to what techniques have been used to make the Reuters site inaccessible.

Hu said that the blockage is perhaps a reaction to what the site was reporting. He added that it does not imply that the Great Firewall has been upgraded or that other circumvention techniques will not able to overcome the blockade.

Accusations of cyberattacks

Frequently, USA and China have traded allegations of cyberattacks. Particularly, China denies the claim placed by USA over the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) cyberspace unit in Shanghai for causing a series of cyber-attacks on the U.S corporate networks in the past few years.

Also, on Friday, China’s defense ministry refuted the allegations placed against them in London’s Financial Times for attacking Register.com through a confidential unit of PLA, 61398.

The ministry faxed to Reuters saying that the criticism over China’s military that it is involved in hacking the internet has no ground and evidence.

The ministry also said that China has stood strong against such allegations and has been dealing with such matters according to the Internet hacking law along with other criminal activities. Moreover, the Chinese military has never indulged itself in any activity that is aimed at stealing commercial secrets on the web.

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On the other hand, official media reported that in 2014 alone, China recorded around 4761 IP addresses based in the United States that were involved in taking control of 5580 Chinese-based computers through background programs causing these computers to be controlled with remote access.

The U.S was called upon by the defense ministry of China to give a fair explanation of these findings.

Featured Image via: expresso.pt | 

Waqas

Waqas Amir is a Milan-based cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Waqas is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.