The Chinese did it
On Thursday and Friday, WordPress.com was attacked. This blog is hosted on WordPress.com. It was frustrating not to be able to post anything.
How was it attacked? By a simple Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDos). It’s a simple hack. DoS attacks are implemented by either forcing the targeted computer(s) to reset, or consuming its resources so that it can no longer provide its intended service or obstructing the communication media between the intended users and the victim so that they can no longer communicate adequately.
Basically millions of request are sent to the target to the point where the target gets overwhelmed and unable to cope. In the real world, it would be thousands of people converging on a shop and requesting service.
WordPress.com said that the size of the attack is “multiple Gigabits per second and tens of millions of packets per second….”.
According to Matt Mullenweg, Automattic and WordPress founder, this is the largest attack WordPress.com has ever seen, and is likely to be politically motivated:
There’s an ongoing DDoS attack that was large enough to impact all three of our data centers in Chicago, San Antonio, and Dallas — it’s currently been neutralized but it’s possible it could flare up again later, which we’re taking proactive steps to implement.
This is the largest and most sustained attack we’ve seen in our 6 year history. We suspect it may have been politically motivated against one of our non-English blogs but we’re still investigating and have no definitive evidence yet.
Everything’s fine for now
Those on self-hosted WordPress aren’t affected at all. On the other hand, WordPress.com serves 18 million publishers, including this blog.
It led some to speculate that the attacks came from the Middle East. This speculation was put to rest when Matt said that 98% of the attacks over the past two days originated in China. The target was a Chinese language site operating on WordPress.com.
WordPress.com doesn’t know exactly why the site was targeted and won’t release the name until it does. It appears the attack was politically motivated.
WordPress.com was hit with a another wave of attacks today (the fourth in two days) that caused issues again. This time we were able to recover more quickly, and also determined one of the targets to be a Chinese-language site which appears to be also blocked on Baidu. The vast majority of the attacks were coming from China (98%) with a little bit of Japan and Korea mixed in.
At the same time, according to The Korean Herald, 40 government and commercial web sites in South Korea including some belonging to the US military were hit by a denial of service attack.
What is the one thing that all governments fear? It’s the inability to control the flow of information. The Internet democratize information flow.
To most people, they are now being offered a lot of competing views. These views aren’t scripted by the government. That’s the reason, when a view opposes the official sources, it’s seen as a conspiracy theory. The people who spread this news are simply nut cases or oddballs that lack credibility.
Even if the person, have the necessary qualification, the main stream media will try very hard to cast aspersion on the person’s character.
Another method where a government tries to undermine the credibility of the movement is by planting lots of false information. A sort of “poisoning the well”. It will give outlandish theories and the state controlled media will “seize” the story and mix it up with the other “unofficial” stories.
They will then portray that these people are simply lunatics and shouldn’t be believed.
One of the more successful way, to get people from thinking of serious issues, is to distract them by providing entertainment. Who doesn’t like a good story? It’s in the government interest to bring in cable TV or have more variety shows on the TV. It lulls people to think that everything is safe.
Singapore does this very well. All the media in Singapore is state-controlled, right down to the so-called TV personalities. If you look at what Singapore TV offers it all purely entertainment. We have lots of American entertainment shows on the TV. The Malay channel have lots of dramas and so does the Chinese and Indian Channels.
Any of the so-called “news program” are simply just watered down to offer some sort of pseudo-information. Safe to say, it won’t be telecast live and everything is scripted and edited.
I recently had the opportunity to get to know an editor in an international documentary producing company. I said I love watching the shows and remarked that the channel should produce certain histories of Asia as it is and not according to what the state wanted it to be.
She said that if they were to do that, the channel will be barred and they would lose revenue. Profits do come first.
Where do we go from here
Everything that’s created can be destroyed. The recent Egyptian revolution shows that a government can block or suspend the Internet. In China, the authorities are actively blocking its citizen’s free access to the Internet.
It won’t be long when all the information flow will be controlled or severely restricted. Those that have knowledge that doesn’t fit with “official” sources will be branded as a terrorist. Those who question will be schooled.
There will still be information flow; only approved by the authorities and mostly on stuff that distracts. Even the US, the so-called bastion of “free speech” will have a Internet “kill switch”
Learn as much as you can, don’t suspend critical thinking because the authorities says it’s safe and finally speak out and question everything.
From Pastor Martin Niemoller – First they came
First they came for the communists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left to speak out for me.