Online code sharing website GitHub is coming sustained DDoS attack (distributed denial of service), and China is reportedly behind the assault.
GitHub said in a statement that the attack began on Thursday and uses sophisticated methods to try to overwhelm the site.
The majority of the traffic used in the attack is coming from redirected searches on the Chinese search engine Baidu.
“We are currently experiencing the largest DDoS attack in github.com's history. The attack began around 2AM UTC on Thursday March 26, and involves a wide combination of attack vectors,” GitHub said.
“These include every vector we've seen in previous attacks as well as some sophisticated new techniques that use the web browsers of unsuspecting, uninvolved people to flood github.com with high levels of traffic.”
GitHub said that the attack seems to be an attempt to "convince us to remove a specific class of content" from the site. The attack is focused on GitHub sections that host content banned in China.
Fortune reported that the content under attack relates to information from Greatfire.org and the Chinese version of The New York Times. These sites are blocked directly in China, but are hosted in sub-sections of GitHub.
This makes it harder for the authorities to stop people reading the banned material, as they have effectively to block access to the entire GitHub website. China has tried this in the past, but the site is popular with coders in China and attempts to block it met with major protests.
GitHub said that it was “completely focused on mitigating this attack” and will do all it can to stop it disrupting access to the site.
The site also confirmed on a Twitter status page that the attack continued to evolve and that efforts to stop it proved successful only for a few hours.
All systems reporting at 100%. Attack traffic continues, so we remain on high alert.— GitHub Status (@githubstatus) March 30, 2015
The DDoS attack has evolved and we are working to mitigate
— GitHub Status (@githubstatus) March 30, 2015
Web censorship is a major problem for the Chinese government, which claims that it is necessary in order to stamp out cyber crime and hacking.
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