Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Fire Wall Of China

By Micah Halpern
I've Been Thinking:
10's of millions ---maybe even 100's of millions ---it is just a guess  .... that's how many Chinese lost access to the Internet on Tuesday.

Whenever you talk about numbers and the Internet in China it is all just a guess. But assume that it was a gargantuan, even a Malthusian number of people who were redirected from their intended sites to other sites.
The Chinese restrict freedom of the Internet. Their web is so censured that we jokingly refer to their system of web control as "The Great Fire-Wall of China."

Tuesday's debacle was probably orchestrated by hackers who hate the Chinese wall. The result was that users were sent to an illegal and highly censured site owned by a US company.

The US company DIT confirmed that they own the site but said that they did not hack China. Instead they offered a plausible explanation. DIT said that it was probably due to an accidental mis-configuration of the Chinese fire wall.

The firewall normally redirects requests to sites that are Chinese friendly. This time all the unfriendly sites were now the destination. Now the forbidden sites were now open to all.

Not surprisingly, this happens pretty often when you try to control information to 1 billion 500 million people. There are 2 million cyber police in China today dedicated to hacking Western sites and keeping that firewall up.

Some days the system works better than others. 

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