(Repeats to additional subscribers)
SHANGHAI Jan 22 A major Internet outage in
China on Tuesday that rerouted users to the U.S. website of a
company which helps people get around Beijing's censorship may
have been due to a hacking attack, the official Xinhua news
The state-run China Internet Network Information Center
(CNNIC) said in a microblog post that the outage, which lasted
for several hours, was due to a malfunction in China's top-level
domain name root servers on Tuesday afternoon.
Chinese Internet users were rerouted to a U.S.-based website
run by Dynamic Internet Technology, a company that sells
anti-censorship web services tailored for Chinese users,
including a product that enables the retrieval of microblog
posts deleted by Chinese censors.
Dynamic Internet Technology did not immediately respond to
requests for comment.
The company website lists the Epoch Times, a publication
produced by the Falun Gong religious sect which is banned in
China, as a client. Other clients include Voice of America and
Human Rights in China.
It is still unclear as to exactly what happened to cause the
outage. The Xinhua report quoted Chinese security experts saying
the outage could have been exploited by hackers, or could have
been the result of a hacking attack.
"The Internet disruption appears to have taken place through
changes to the Domain Name Service - the mapping between domain
names and the IP addresses for the corresponding content servers
- rather than through attacks on the underlying infrastructure,"
said Jim Cowie, CTO of Renesys, which monitors global Internet
Chinese web service providers have struggled to overcome
recurrent performance bottlenecks in the country's massive but
often rickety data network. The need to continuously censor
domestic content and block foreign websites only complicates the
In addition to fending off hacking attacks, network
providers face challenges finding experienced server
administrators and dealing with government bureaucracies with
frequently overlapping jurisdictions over different aspects of
(Reporting by Pete Sweeney. Additional reporting by Alina
Selyukh in Washington D.C.; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)