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Who would do such a grievous deed?

Most know that the internet teems with the high-tech equivalent of the petty crook; waiting to take advantage of the unwitting.  However, far more alarming than a malicious teenager coding malware, in many ways, is the growing amount of nationalistic attacks on the web.  Many of these attacks come from China, and, according to U.S. and British armed forces and intelligence, are government-sponsored.

The attacks have occurred in the public sector-- on the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security, and on government contractors-- and now they're occurring in the private sector as well.  Last Thursday, was targeted by takedown attempts after it ran coverage of pro-independence protest events in Tibet.  CNN fought back deploying countermeasures, but this yielded "web attrition" in the form of its services being slow or unreachable to many in Asia.

While CNN states that the scale of problems due to its defensive measures were relatively small, it also acknowledges that the incident was significant.  Said the network, "CNN took preventative measures to filter traffic in response to attempts to disrupt our Web site. A small percentage of users in Asia are impacted.  We do not know who is responsible, nor can we confirm where it came from."

The site came under attack midday Thursday, when it began to experience unexpected problems.  The support staff found that by blocking visitors from certain geographic locations it could mostly silence the attack.  CNN has not released exactly what locations it blocked, but its comments indicate that they were in Asia.  The blocking caused loss of service to some legitimate Asian users, according to the news network.

CNN downplayed the loss-of-service, stating that it was almost "imperceptible" and that "at no time" did the site go down.  By mid-morning Friday, normal operations had resumed.

While CNN has not officially announced who it suspects committed the attacks, the Asian web community was reporting prior to the attacks that in China there were calls for denial-of-service attacks on the site.  The site's coverage of unrest in Tibet and Olympic protests riled many in the Chinese government and many Chinese nationalists.

Chinese bloggers have heavily criticized CNN's coverage of pro-independence movements in Tibet as being "unfair".  CNN says these claims are ridiculous and states, "CNN's reputation is based on reporting global news accurately and impartially, while our coverage through the use of words, images or video always reflects a wide range of opinions and points of view on every story."

For those unfamiliar, a denial of service attack works by an attacker using large groups of computers which they control to send numerous service requests to a website.  Websites can only cope with a certain level of traffic, and at a certain point, the site will become slow and, often, inaccessible.

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By Trisagion on 4/21/2008 10:15:20 AM , Rating: 5
Say, which undersea cables feed Mainland China? Can we send a few ships with heavy anchors in that direction?

RE: Ugh
By Sartori42 on 4/21/2008 10:22:36 AM , Rating: 5
While it would be nice to do something about the situation, I think you're logic is backwards. I don't think anyone has a problem with the average Chinese citizens. It's the government that keeps them from free access to information. What you need is MORE access to information throughout China, not less.

RE: Ugh
By daftrok on 4/21/2008 11:06:46 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed. I'm all for governments doing things for the betterment of the people so long as our rights and liberties aren't infringed upon, which is why I hate communists! GAH!

RE: Ugh
By ebakke on 4/21/08, Rating: 0
RE: Ugh
By daftrok on 4/21/2008 4:41:00 PM , Rating: 3
Carbon fiber Master Chief suits and Taser Shotguns.

RE: Ugh
By HighWing on 4/21/2008 1:34:01 PM , Rating: 2
While I do agree with you that in most cases, denying service is not the right answer, if it deals with China, I would have to disagree. Mostly because I personally think that China is "toying" with the USA and the rest of the world. They have been acting like a spoiled kids who will tell their parents they are/will do one thing, and then turn around and do the opposite. And in that case what does the parent do? They don't believe the child anymore and won't let them do the things they ask for anymore till they prove they can be truthful and responsible. That is what I think the rest of the world should be doing with China. Lets let them prove to us that they will hold true to their world BEFORE we believe them.

That and I'm sure any serious player of any online MMO would probably jump at the idea of just outright banning China from the web all together.

RE: Ugh
By theoflow on 4/21/2008 3:10:05 PM , Rating: 3

I'm actually pretty disappointed with how a lot of people perceive China. I'm not making excuses for China, but when change occurs in history, it usually doesn't happen overnight.

The United States wasn't founded in a day, and there was A LOT of blood sweat and tears that went into the process to make our country what it is today. We might have advanced more quickly to a superpower than any other country, but that doesn't give us the right to preach to the world and expect things to happen our way.

As for the whole spoiled kids analogy, have you not looked at the United States domestic and foreign policy the last decade or so? I think it is our country who is in fact losing much more credibility in foreign countries with saying one thing and doing another. I was born and raised in this country and maybe it is because I am getting older, but I have never been quite dumbfounded by how incompetent government is at the moment, both parties included.

And the worst thing about the mentality we have towards China is that we think we are better than they are. Meanwhile, the Middle class in China is exploding with a dedicated (albeit cutthroat) workforce that can speak 3-5 languages and work for less because they haven't been spoiled with the luxuries our previous generations have given to us and we take for granted.

RE: Ugh
By eye smite on 4/21/2008 3:36:19 PM , Rating: 5
I don't know why you would be disappointed with how people perceive China. Has China honestly done anything since the end of WW2 to brighten it's image? I'm not talking about living like any other country in the world either, simply talking about how they deal with things and more importantly how they deal with their own people. We saw this exact same thing in 1989 during Tiananmen Square where hundreds were killed. On top of that you can't really perceive the people of China when it's gov't is suppressing them so that we can't perceive them. We're just talking about the last 60 years or so since WW2 ended. I won't even go into the last 120 years or farther back than that. China's history is replete with this exact behavior, whether they were ruled by an emperor, democracy, provincial rule by Warlords which incidentally is why they couldn't defend themselves in WW2, because the warlords were in control warring amongst themselves. Now personally I have nothing against China, and I don't expect them to live like we do ever. What I do expect is China to keep living the way it always has, and anyone that thinks differently on that, just look at the last 60 years so that you aren't deluding yourself.

RE: Ugh
By Ringold on 4/21/2008 4:39:00 PM , Rating: 3
What I do expect is China to keep living the way it always has, and anyone that thinks differently on that, just look at the last 60 years so that you aren't deluding yourself.

Okay, here's what I see over the last 60 years.

I see a country first devastated by Maoism and smothered by communist doctrine. Then in the 70s, they initiated free market reforms; first one, I believe, was private ownership of crop yields, basically. Productivity skyrocketed, and more reforms, including a trickle of economic freedoms, followed. In the 80s and 90s growth picked up. Now it's significantly reduced poverty, has allowed tens of millions of Chinese, if not hundreds, to join a nascent global middle class where previously only wretched poverty existed.

Am I the only one that can connect the dots of the past, and then take that same line and project it out in to the future and thus forecast a slow increase in economic freedom, and ultimately political freedom? Not to mention, more economic growth until they're at least living like some poorer Europeans.

According to wikipedia, 74% of Chinese believe free market economics is the best economic system, more then any other country surveyed.

That doesn't seem to foreshadow drastic departure from whats been a trend opposite of what you suggest for the last 30-40 years.

RE: Ugh
By eye smite on 4/21/2008 4:51:10 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, those are some good progress points in the country and for the people. We're not dealing with the people of China though, we're dealing with it's gov't. I'm sure there's quite a few examples, but the ones of note are Tiananmen Square, and here we are 19 years later seeing the same thing in Tibet. So, how many more decades will it take with this slow progression to turn the gov't around so they aren't killing people for protesting and demonstrating against how they are treated and the suppression they endure????? I don't have an answer for that, and I'm sure no one does. So let me rephrase my statement to focus on the gov't of China. The Chinese gov't going forward will continue to do what they've been doing towards their people for the last 60 years and will be accountable to no one for their actions......that's just the way it is.

RE: Ugh
By 16nm on 4/21/2008 1:57:16 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're logic is backwards.

He's just making a joke.

RE: Ugh
By lompocus on 4/21/2008 2:34:49 PM , Rating: 2
Are you sure?

RE: Ugh
By ajfink on 4/21/2008 10:30:13 AM , Rating: 2
We should be pushing for greater availability of unrestricted Internet in China, not cutting it off. I'm among those that believe that enough exposure to the rest of the world will eventually put enough pressure on the government (not to mention change those in government, regardless of their desire to hold on to power) that changes will eventually come into effect.

Of course, I also believe China is the biggest, scariest bogyman of rising threats to western international dominance, and they're responsible for a whole basket load of bad things (like their occupation of Tibet [and there are other places] and never-ending suppression of free speech and press).

I give kudos to the admins responsible for CNN's website. They acted in a proportionate response, rather than doing too little or going over the top.

RE: Ugh
By Master Kenobi on 4/21/2008 11:00:57 AM , Rating: 2
I'm among those that believe that enough exposure to the rest of the world will eventually put enough pressure on the government (not to mention change those in government, regardless of their desire to hold on to power) that changes will eventually come into effect.

Fat chance of that. The Chinese people are so brainwashed it is unlikely to happen anytime in the near future. The level of information control exercised by the Chinese government is leaps and bounds above what the Soviet Union managed. I think when China's economy goes straight to shit in the next 5 years there might be some impact but that's a long shot still.

(I base my 5 year prediction of China's economy on its current energy usage and natural resources)

RE: Ugh
By masher2 on 4/21/2008 12:06:03 PM , Rating: 2
> "I base my 5 year prediction of China's economy on its current energy usage"

China is being smart and building dozens of new nuclear power plants. Soon they'll have access to more energy than the US does...and at a far lower environmental cost as well.

RE: Ugh
By HighWing on 4/21/2008 1:36:33 PM , Rating: 2
I think when China's economy goes straight to shit in the next 5 years there might be some impact but that's a long shot still.

As long as we keep sending them our factories to make our products, what you say will never happen.

RE: Ugh
By Ringold on 4/21/2008 2:59:12 PM , Rating: 2
1. They aren't 'ours', they belong to investors.

2. Populist opinion is always behind the curve; China is already losing some manufacturing jobs to lower-cost areas of Asia, such as Vietnam. Soon, they will be flowing on to Africa.

3. Even stripping out all international trade from China's growth, they would only lose, if I recall, 2% or so of growth. The majority of their growth is endogenous -- in other words, has nothing to do with us.

RE: Ugh
By HighWing on 4/21/2008 6:27:59 PM , Rating: 2
I think you kinda missed my point.
1. They aren't 'ours', they belong to investors.

I'm not really sure what you mean here, but by saying "ours" I meant anything that is made over in china that is then exported, sold, etc over here in the USA. Where the end product does eventually belong to someone outside of China. IE "ours"

The whole point of my statement is that I don't see how their economy can really fall anytime soon if the USA or any other countries continue to set up factories and pour money into opening up businesses inside of China's borders.

RE: Ugh
By Ringold on 4/21/2008 11:12:25 PM , Rating: 2
I was trying to get at the obvious protectionist sentiment you were trying to exude, but futile is the cause of economic education.

RE: Ugh
By slunkius on 4/23/2008 12:58:43 AM , Rating: 2
Now these are some craziest ideas i have read.
Moving jobs to Vietnam - maybe, to Africa considering stability of that region - it will never happen.
Very interesting theory regarding endogenous growth of china, would be nice to know a source for that. being called world's factory and still not affected by international trade - that is some real achievement

RE: Ugh
By 16nm on 4/21/2008 2:12:04 PM , Rating: 3
The Chinese people are so brainwashed

Only a very foolish Chinese would speak out against its government knowing the consequences. When you hear a Chinese defend his country on the news, know that he has no other choice but to. I think the only Chinese that are brainwashed are those in the government.

RE: Ugh
By Ringold on 4/21/2008 3:07:44 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure, but I get the feeling China isn't quite so oppressive as we assume in America.

To quote The Economist from a month or two ago:

"It is no wonder, then, that pollution is the cause of ever more protests and demonstrations. There were some 60,000 in 2006 alone, by the authorities' own count. Some are led not by impotent peasants but by well-organised burghers from Shanghai and Xiamen, a development that must horrify China's rulers."

Either China makes Hitler and Stalin look like Santa Clause, or they look the other way the vast majority of the time.

RE: Ugh
By 16nm on 4/21/2008 4:43:49 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not so sure either. And therein lies the problem.

RE: Ugh
By TimTheEnchanter25 on 4/21/08, Rating: 0
RE: Ugh
By ajfink on 4/21/2008 8:47:19 PM , Rating: 3
Exactly why I said we should be pushing for more open Internet.

The fact that the Great Firewall of China will be dropped for international hotels during the Olympics is downright shocking to me. Yes, China is opening up unrestricted (so they say) Internet to people in certain hotels planned for the athletes and international press. A few crafty Chinese people leaching from these sites will have their first taste of unfiltered Chinese Internet...ever.

RE: Ugh
By B3an on 4/21/08, Rating: 0
RE: Ugh
By rdeegvainl on 4/21/2008 12:08:55 PM , Rating: 1
Links or something to back up your claim?

By Master Kenobi on 4/21/2008 10:21:25 AM , Rating: 5
I find it laughable that CNN wants to say it has an unbiased presentation of the facts. But in this case they were correct. It just so happens that what the plublic wants to hear is how evil China is and the struggle put up by those in Tibet. On the other hand the Chinese government wants nothing to do with that, they want to spin it the other way. What did you expect? China to ask nicely? They have a propaganda machine to attend to.

By FITCamaro on 4/21/2008 10:43:12 AM , Rating: 4
Agreed. I try to pay attention to CNN as little as possible. I feel I'd probably get better news from the Daily Show.

It doesn't surprise me in the least that the Chinese would try to take down CNNs site though.

By Mojo the Monkey on 4/21/2008 2:07:47 PM , Rating: 2
I think this goes for all major cable network news shows.

By seraphim1982 on 4/21/2008 12:02:55 PM , Rating: 2
CNN is often very biased in the way they present information. TOTALLY AGREE

By audiomaniaca on 4/22/2008 7:53:13 AM , Rating: 3

Iraq War and related issues are a joke. I'm not sure if the Chinese citizens are the only brainwashed ones.

Yes, rate me down.

White hats, black hats, & . . .
By Rike on 4/21/2008 10:28:38 AM , Rating: 4
Nationalism seems to be a fairly new reason for mounting a hack attack. Shall we call them red hats?

By geddarkstorm on 4/21/2008 2:42:23 PM , Rating: 2
Only if they are using it :).

By tenzin on 4/21/2008 12:46:09 PM , Rating: 5
I am a regualar user of your web side from Lhasa (the capital city of Tibet) I am Tibetan grown up and educated from India under the guidance of H.H. the Dalai Lama and his exile govenment but last year I came to see my grandma's last face and since from then i can't go back because of some political reasons. Anyway, Its 100% sure that we can't see the true news of world especially related with Tibet issue and Dalai Lama. So, 90% of the Tibeans and the local Chinese they don't have freedom of speech and express even today. We have( i mean included Chinese themself)has no right to see the BBC and CNN Chanels. These are the fundamental right of a human. So, without such basic or fundamental human rights how come we are happy under such a govenment? Don't talk about us Tibetans, chinese themself are fooled by her own mohter by broadcasting untrue news. So, I once from the core of my heart to tell you people " thanking your so much to brought us the real and true news of not only Tibet also world wide. You know now as for myself i can't do anything in Tibet eventhough i had strong Nationalism and Patrioism but i am under heavey military and guns......You know these days the local Chinese Media and TV stations especially in Tibet what they have shown and broadcast in TV are radiculous and 99% of them are not true and they forced the local villgers to speak out what they have already preprepared ones and also for the high ranking personality and religious personalities to spakout such things.thenaks.

DoS vs DDoS
By Bummrounde on 4/21/2008 12:13:08 PM , Rating: 2
a denial of service attack works by an attacker using large groups of computers which they control to send numerous service requests to a website

That's a distributed denial of service attack. Some denial of service attacks can be carried out by a single node, like a compromised server inside the targeted network/service, for example. Is that splitting hairs too much? Seems like most folks don't distinguish that closely anymore.

RE: DoS vs DDoS
By johnsonx on 4/21/2008 2:22:58 PM , Rating: 2
All DDoS attacks are DoS attacks. Single node DoS attacks aren't generally possible any longer, so most people assume when a DoS attack is discussed it's one of the newer distributed forms. So yes, that's splitting hairs too much.

By NoMediaDistortion on 4/21/2008 11:59:26 PM , Rating: 2
When people are so 'high' about the Tibet issue, most of then actually know nothing about Tibet.

"CNN's reputation is based on reporting global news accurately and impartially, while our coverage through the use of words, images or video always reflects a wide range of opinions and points of view on every story."
This is really a joke to me, especially for recent coverage on Tibet. Why?
When there are videos that shows how those so-called 'peaceful protester' kill innocent civilian people on street, burn the shops, fire trucks, and schools, CNN still hail the mobsters as 'hero'. The following is a video taken by an Australia tourist in Tibet.

For other incidents, videos like that would be treated like the 'precious' by CNN. In Virginia Tech massacre, a video taken by someone's cellphone was aired again, again and again. However, do you even see a glimpse of videos of the 'peaceful' mobster in Tibet riot? Is this how CNN call themselves "always reflects a wide range of opinions and points of view on every story"?

I am no good in English. For people who wants to know a little bit more about Tibet, you can start from the following post by M.A.Jones, who did a very good research on Tibet. The posts present a lot of "quantitative as well as qualitative evidence".

There are also videos on
1. Tibet, the truth
2. Riot in Tibet: True face of western media

There are so many videos on youtube. Some of them are pro-tibet. Some of them are pro-china. You can watch the video from both side. But please do judge them by facts, not just accusations from random people without solid proof.

and this....
By crystal clear on 4/21/2008 2:32:36 PM , Rating: 1
Obama site hacked, redirects clicks to Clinton's site

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