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Massive Amount of Chinese Internet Traffic Redirected to Wyoming: Was it a Mistake, or a Hack?

First Posted: Jan 24, 2014 02:35 AM EST
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On Tuesday, Chinese internet users were unable to access most of the internet from inside the country.

The Washington Post reports, "About 75 percent of China's domain name system servers were affected by the roughly eight-hour malfunction, during which Web browsers failed to load .com, .net and .org Internet addresses."

Some experts predicted that the occurrence -- the largest ever of its kind -- may have resulted from Chinese Internet censors who tried to block traffic to certain websites which could and were being used to evade the Great Firewall and accidentally redirected traffic to the Internet address.

China is a country that censors its internet, a move that drives many users to internet services which mask a computer's location in order to access sites which are blocked.

Another possibility is that the re-directing of traffic was a deliberate effort on the part of the Chinese government -- or whoever is responsible -- to shut down the servers that received the deluge of traffic. A mysterious server in Wyoming was receiving millions of pings from China for a while on Tuesday.

According to the Washington Post, very little is known about the firm and the people who run it. It is claimed that the owner is has been targeted by China for being a practitioner of Falun Gong and he has been an anti-censor advocate since he moved to the United States in the 1990s.

Either the Chinese government intended to crash his servers but the much more likely explanation is that the outage was a mishap caused by China's very own web censors making an error.

This is supported by the fact that hackers would not be able to take down so much of the Chinese internet at once, suggesting it was an internal error. "You cannot hack all the DNS servers in China. If it was DNS contamination it should have been isolated, it should have been a few cases instead of the whole Internet becoming inaccessible," said Lento Yip, chairman of Hon Kong Internet Service Providers Association.

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