The Chinese government announced this week that it believes an internet outage that has hit the country is the result of a cyber attack. Web users within the country were unable to reach certain websites starting around 3:20pm local time on January 21 according to the National Computer Network Emergency Response Center. That response center has issued a preliminary conclusion that the outage was caused by a cyber attack.
The internet outage lasted for over an hour and is reported to have affected about two thirds of all web traffic in the country. Considering China has about 618 million web users that is a huge number of people affected by the outage. it's worth noting that while China blames a cyber attack, other groups, such as Greatfire.org, which tracks censorship efforts of governments, says that the outage is linked to efforts by China to block content to web users within the country.
China is widely known to censor what its citizens can access on the web using what has been called the Great Fire Wall of China. China blocks access to pornography, gambling, and any content critical of the government. The outage that happened this week didn’t affect any of the top level sites in China using the .cn extension.
Greatfire.org believes that the outage might have been caused when Chinese censors were trying to block a certain IP address or when it was adding new rule-sets to the firewall system. Greatfire.org does say that the issue could have happened when the Chinese censorship system was hacked. Websites that were affected by the outage include Baidu and sites run by Alibaba.
SOURCE: Business Week