Attack on GitHub

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China has been making moves to increase the censorship of the internet. Their internet filtration system, the Great Firewall, prevents Chinese internet users to gain access to certain websites. Recently, GitHub, a website that contains codes for programmers, has been the victim of a recent technological attack.

The New York times says, “The aggressive new strategy shows vividly how Beijing is struggling to balance its desire to control the flow of information online with the aim of encouraging the growth of its tech sector.” The attack on Giinternetcensorship061208tHub was preformed by redirecting high levels of internet traffic to GitLab in order to crash their site. Included in the large database of code at GitHub is code that allows users to get around the Great Firewall. Many people believe that this attack was sent to GitHub as a message to remove the code that allows users to circumvent the firewall.

This attack is the most recent act of censorship by the Chinese and many people are becoming alarmed due to the fact that their expression is being limited. The New York Times reports that, “The new attacks come as Beijing has increased censorship in China, and grown more vocal about how the Internet should be governed globally.”



4 Responses to Attack on GitHub

  1. This article raises an interesting question about freedom of speech in China. I know that this occurred, but I would be interested to see what other recent “attacks” the Chinese government has conducted.

  2. Governmental attacks like this can interpreted as a threat to free of expression and to the people who run the site such as GitHub. Beijing’ struggle to keep the complete control over domestic Internet usage and even extraterritoriality on the Internet has worked so far. But I wonder the government can keep up with the ever-changing Internet environment and users’ abilities to circumvent the fire wall.

  3. I also read in another article that in a statement, Kaiser Kuo, a Baidu spokesman, said the company found no security breaches and was working with other organizations to get to the bottom of the attack.

  4. Some “hacks” can be clearly traced to groups with government ties. A one-time denial of access attack is quite different from actually breaking into and sabotaging a computer system. It’s a non-trivial nuisance but not a long-term barrier. Signal? Hackers just flexing their muscles and having fun with a target that will garner publicity?

    Nevertheless there are many researchers and businesspeople in China with legitimate needs for relatively open access to Western sources. Presumably some people can get permission, or try and don’t get shut down. As per a query of Mr. Miller, how about data-intensive engineering centers in China that must coordinate with centers elsewhere around the globe? I’ve seen no news to suggest Shanghai GM is being forced to curtail its operations – that would be a big story, so I suspect they in fact are able to use intra-company, global networks.

    Tech publications surely cover this in detail, how-to for firms operating in China that are not stand-alone enterprises.