Website used by Hong Kong protesters suffers DDoS attack

LIHKG, an online forum used by activists behind ongoing Hong Kong protests has suffered a DDoS attack forcing its servers to go offline.

The prime suspect of the DDoS attack is China.

An online forum used by activists behind the ongoing Hong Kong protests has suffered a DDoS attack forcing its servers to go offline for a short period of time.

The targeted website called LIHKG, is a popular platform in Hong Kong often referred to as Reddit’s version of the country.

Lately, the site has gained massive attention after Hong Kong protestors made it their home to discuss and setup protests against 2019’s infamous extradition bill.

According to the official statement from LIHKG, the DDoS attack began targeting the website on August 31st, 2019 in which unique visitors rose to 6.5 million and total requests exceeded 1.5 billion per hour. 

See: Man whose DDoS attacks took down entire country’s Internet jailed

In a distributed denial-of-service attack (DDoS attack) the incoming traffic flooding the victim originates from many different sources. This effectively makes it impossible to stop the attack simply by blocking a single source.

“We have reasons to believe that there is a power, or even a national level power behind to organize such attacks as botnet from all over the world were manipulated in launching this attack,” the website said. 

Who’s the prime suspect? Although one can’t always be certain about the origin of such attacks, the beneficiary of the DDoS attack on LIHKG is China. Also, in the statement, the website administrators have mentioned that “some of the attacks were from websites in China” while the ongoing Hong Kong anti-extradition bill protests are also opposed by the Chinese government.

Screenshot shared by showing DDoS attack from Baidu, a Chinese multinational technology company

It is worth mentioning that the extradition bill would allow the Hong Kong government to detain and extradite people who are wanted in territories that Hong Kong does not have extradition agreements with, including Taiwan and mainland China.

As of now, LIHKG is using DDoS attack protection services provided by Cloudflare however the statement from the website maintains that “the large-scale cyberattack against the website has not stopped, and the service may still be suddenly affected.”

It further advice users to try surfing the web version of the site in case the app is down due to DDoS attacks.

This, however, is not the first time when China has been blamed for carrying out DDoS attacks to silent Hong Kong protesters. In June this year, the popular privacy-focused instant messaging application service Telegram suffered a massive DDoS attack in which its service in the United States and several other countries was disrupted.

See: DDoS attack from Anonymous Catalonia cripples Bank of Spain website

In an official statement, Telegram’s founder Pavel Durov blamed the Chinese government for the attacks. In his tweet, Durov said that:

“IP addresses coming mostly from China. Historically, all state actor-sized DDoS (200-400 Gb/s of junk) we experienced coincided in time with protests in Hong Kong (coordinated on @telegram). This case was not an exception.”

At the time of publishing this article; LIHKG was online.

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