A massive section of the Chinese Internet was knocked out Sunday in what authorities are calling the “largest hack in China’s history.” The attack has security experts at a loss and unable to determine the origins of the cyber-assault.
The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC) reported
the outages Sunday. The government institution said they were the
result of twin denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks occurring in
close succession, starting at 2:00am local time (6:00pm GMT). The
second attack was "long-lasting and large-scale," Chinese
state media reported.
The CNNIC apologized to Internet users throughout the country and
is still speculating over the possible causes.
“It's just another example that China does indeed have its own
enemies who attempt to disrupt its Internet operations,”
Jeffrey Carr, CEO of cyber security firm Taia Group, told the
Wall Street Journal. “Such enemies include hackers from Taiwan,
India, Tibet, the Middle East and, of course, the United States.”
Carr added that DDoS attacks are relatively easy to pull off and
“can be as simple as downloading a free tool like Anonymous's
In essence, DDoS attacks work by overloading a network with
millions of requests and causing it to crash.
China has often been accused of orchestrating massive DDoS hack
attacks of its own. In the first quarter of 2013, China was
listed as the top source country for such attacks, according to a
survey by security vendor Prolexic. The US ranked second on the
Earlier this year, Washington and Beijing both accused each other
of large-scale cyber-espionage. The US government issued a stern
warning to the Chinese over so-called “cyber-intrusions,”
some of which Washington traced back to the Chinese government
Beijing responded, claiming it had “mountains” of data on
US hacks into its systems, but added that pointing fingers was
not “helpful in solving the problem."
The conflict was further fueled by former CIA employee Edward
Snowden’s leaked files that detailed mass US hacks on the
“The NSA does all kinds of things, like hack Chinese cellphone
companies to steal all of your SMS data,” Snowden was quoted
as saying on the South China Morning Post's website.
The documents showed the US National Security Agency had been
hacking mobile operator networks and intercepting millions of
The former NSA contractor reportedly provided the paper with
documents detailing specific attacks on computers over a
four-year period, including Internet Protocol (IP) addresses,
dates of attacks and whether a computer was still being monitored