CNN site hit by China attack

CNN's Web site has been slowed down and defaced by renewed China cyber attacks

After being called off Friday, the on-again, off-again cyber attack against CNN's Web site again picked up steam early this week, according to network security analysts.

At its peak, the attack has sucked up 100MB/S in bandwidth, enough to slow the news Web site for some visitors. "That's a decent-sized attack," said Jose Nazario, a senior security engineer with Arbor Networks. "Globally speaking, it's probably garden-variety."

Organizers had originally called for the attack to be launched on April 19. But they soon called off their efforts with one organizer, CN-Magistrate, saying that "too many people are aware of it, and the situation is chaotic."

CN-Magistrate soon disbanded his Web site devoted to these attacks and dropped out of public view.

Hackers had launched some low-intensity attacks against CNN ahead of the April 19 deadline, but on Sunday, another group calling itself HackCNN picked up the attack. CNN visitors experienced a noticeable slowdown during the early hours of Sunday and Monday, researchers said.

This group also managed to deface a Sports Network Web site (sports.si.cnn.com), replacing sports scores with slogans such as "Tibet was, is, and always will be a part of China!"

Although a CNN spokeswoman said that the Web site was not taken down by the attacks, Web monitoring company Netcraft said that some of its sensors were unable to get a response from CNN servers in Phoenix, San Jose, California, London and Pennsylvania for about three hours on Sunday. On Monday, response times to CNN were as slow as two-tenths of a second, Netcraft said.

CNN did slow down the rate at which network traffic from the Asia-Pacific region was able to reach its Web site, the spokeswoman said.

Nazario said that a botnet network of hacked computers has now been involved in the attacks, but the hackers have mostly relied on voluntary downloads to spur their efforts.

Angered by Western coverage of unrest in Tibet by CNN, organizers had hoped to knock the Web site offline using tactics similar to those seen in recent attacks on Internet servers run by the Church of Scientology and the Baltic nation of Estonia. Hackers made easy-to-use Web attacking tools available for download on hackcnn.com and then encouraged as many computers as possible to join in on the attack.

"People would purposely infect themselves with malware released on behalf of Chinese hacktivists to automatically utilize their Internet bandwidth for the purpose of a coordinated attack against a particular site," said Dancho Danchev, a Bulgarian security researcher, via instant message.

"These guys are young. they're usually 20-25 years old, college students, they spend their life online," said Scott Henderson, a retired US intelligence analyst who has been following the CNN attacks on his blog. "It is really a way of expressing themselves."

Security experts said that the Estonian and CNN attacks more closely resembled a cyber riot than anything else, with no central figure in command and many different groups, loosely coordinating their activities and attacking computers in many ways.

The attacks can be hard to stop at first, and they tend to garner attention to the attacker's political cause, Nazario said. "We're going to see this again because it's effective to some degree."

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Robert McMillan

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?