• Fri
  • Sep 19, 2014
  • Updated: 6:31am

Major internet outage hits millions in China, cyberattacks suspected

For about an hour yesterday, attempts to access sites without the .cn country code led to page run by US company with Falun Gong ties

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 21 January, 2014, 7:22pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 January, 2014, 4:22pm


  • Yes: 67%
  • No: 33%
22 Jan 2014
  • Yes
  • No
Total number of votes recorded: 195

Mainlanders could not access much of the internet yesterday, with users who tried to call up websites being redirected to a blank page run by a US technology company tied to Falun Gong.

Beginning at 3pm, users could not access any website, either hosted on the mainland or overseas, with top-level domains such as .com, .net and .org including Sina Weibo, according to several major internet service providers. Web addresses with the .cn country code were not affected.

Normal service resumed about an hour later but the problem lingered in some regions for hours longer.

Internet users were redirected to a website owned by Dynamic Internet Technology, a company working "to provide web access to forbidden sites for internet users in China", according to its website.

The company counts among its clients The Epoch Times, a newspaper run by Falun Gong, which Beijing has outlawed as an "evil cult". It also did work for Voice of America, Radio Free Asia and Human Rights in China, it said.

Company president Bill Xia confirmed to the South China Morning Post the web address belonged to them. But he believed the incident was a backfiring of the government's own web censoring system. "We noticed a sudden increase of traffic and suspected we were under attack," he said. "Our security system has activated a protection mechanism so visitors to the address are not able to see any thing."

A system malfunction or operator mistake might have accidentally directed internet users to a banned IP address such as his company's, Xia said. "A similar incident happened in 2002. Visitors to Sina.com were directed to the website of the Falun Gong," he said. "I guess [Beijing's] … DNS hijacking backfired again."

Song Yingqiao, vice-president of Net.cn a major internet service provider under the Alibaba Group, told the Tencent website the scale and duration of the incident were unprecedented for the mainland.

Some cyber security experts said the incident might have been an attack, carried out possibly by individuals or mainland or overseas organisations.

An internet security engineer with a major anti-virus company in Beijing said the incident could be a "showdown" with the authorities brought by anti-government activists overseas.

Another expert said: "The security of mainland websites is very poor and they have low awareness of protection. Even an individual could launch an attack."

Additional reporting by Echo Hui


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

REV. DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR.: After 1954, they watched us conspire with Diem to prevent elections which could have surely brought Ho Chi Minh to power over the united Vietnam, and they realized they had been betrayed again. When we ask why they do not leap to negotiate, these things must be remembered.
Also, it must be clear that the leaders of Hanoi considered the presence of American troops in support of the Diem regime to have been the initial military breach of the Geneva Agreements concerning foreign troops. And they remind us that they did not begin to send troops in large numbers and even supplies into the South, until American forces had moved into the tens of thousands.
Hanoi remembers how our leaders refused to tell us the truth about the earlier North Vietnamese overtures for peace, how the president claimed that none existed when they had clearly been made. Ho Chi Minh has watched as America has spoken of peace and built up its forces, and now he has surely heard the increasing international rumors of American plans for an invasion of the North. He knows the bombing and shelling and mining we are doing are part of traditional pre-invasion strategy. Perhaps only his sense of humor and of irony can save him when he hears the most powerful nation of the world speaking of aggression as it drops thousands of bombs on a poor, weak nation more than 8,000 miles away from its shores.
OldPeak Toad
Western media reported that the commies scored an own goal by somehow srcewing up that great Great Firewall. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAH
sounds like the usual mainland internet experience. I'm surprised anyone noticed...
Twenty years ago a citizen of Mainland China was afraid to go into his own house, enter the bathroom, turn off the light and have one bad thought concerning the brutal Chinese Communist Party. Now people are cursing the blood-thirsty CCP openly on the street. The CCP has murdered over fifty million of its own people since 1949 and since 1999 has been attempting the brutal genocide of the tens of millions of innocent Falun Gong practitioners who live there. This genocide consists of torture, slavery, organ harvesting and murder. The heinous CCP is spending 25% of its GDP committing this genocide and keeping it hidden from its people and the rest of the World. Western media and governments are ignoring the truth because of corporate greed. This is the real Chinese Communist Party.


SCMP.com Account