U.S. questioned China about Change.org attack

Change.org, an online petitioning platform, was the victim of DDoS attack coming from China in April

The U.S. State Department questioned the Chinese government about a cyberattack that had temporarily shutdown Change.org after the site held a petition urging Chinese authorities to release artist Ai Weiwei from custody.

U.S. deputy assistant secretary Daniel Baer raised concerns about the attack in April with China's foreign ministry, according to an official letter sent from the State Department to U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro. Change.org obtained a copy of the letter and released it on Tuesday.

The nature of those talks is still unclear. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing said it had no current information on the matter and deferred to the State Department. China's foreign ministry has yet to respond to a request for comment.

Change.org, an online petitioning platform, was the victim of a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack originating from China on April 17. The attacks nearly brought down the site for days.

DDoS attacks can do this by using hundreds or thousands of hacked computers to drive enough traffic to a website. The data will become so overwhelming that the site will become inaccessible to normal users.

Change.org said the DDoS attack was its first. The site's founder Ben Rattray believed the incident was connected to an online petition calling for the release of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, who is still under arrest. When the attack occurred in April, the petition had attracted about 100,000 people. Now the petition has more than 142,000 signatures.

Ai Weiwei's arrest followed the detainment of other human rights activists in China after online postings were made starting this February calling for a "Jasmine revolution" against the Chinese government. Since then, Authorities have increased their censorship of the Web, and have been quick to block searches for sensitive words relating to protest actions.

China has been named the country of origin for several other cyber attacks. This month, Google said it had disrupted a targeted phishing campaign meant to break into the Gmail accounts of government officials, political activists and military personnel. Google said the cybercampaign had originated from Jinan, China.

Previously, the search giant was the victim of another attack coming out of China back in 2009 that was aimed at accessing the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists.

China, however, has denied it sponsors any cyber attacking, and claims that the country is also a victim of hacking attempts.

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Internet-based applications and servicessecurityChange.orgsocial networkinggovernmentinternet

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Michael Kan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?