Insert Great Firewall of China joke here

GitHub is getting hacked by China – this is not a drill

Natali Vlatko
DDoS image via Shutterstock

GitHub is currently involved in a massive denial of service attack, with the barrage now moving past the 24 hour mark. The attack is being administered by Chinese internet giant Baidu.

New in from planet ‘Internet is evil’, GitHub has been hit by an ongoing DDoS attack originating in China, which rendered it inaccessible for a good chunk of the day.

The attack has been orchestrated by using Baidu Analytics, a service similar to Google Analytics.

Baidu is the largest search engine available in China, with user dengnan on Hacker News citing that the reach for the attack is decidedly bigger than the analytics branch. Baidu’s ads’ JavaScript is also being hijacked and changed, meaning that all sites containing Baidu ads (read: a lot of sites) are using their visitors to continue the attack.

The attack is focused on two websites in particular: GreatFire and GitHub’s repository for Chinese translations of The New York Times. When visiting the sites, visitors are currently met with the following alert:

alert("WARNING: malicious javascript detected on this domain")

This counterattack stops the script from looping indefinitely and is sure to piss off a user or two. However, according to recent tweets from GitHub’s official account, the attack is still seen as ongoing and is experiencing further surges since it’s initial deployment.

GitHub’s latest update suggests that some users may still be unable to access the site, with server logs painting the shitty picture for all to see. Users have been urged to follow the status page for further information, with GitHub stating that “restoring service for all users while deflecting attack traffic is our number one priority”.

Opinions about the motive for the attack have centered and focused on the Chinese Government, and some are already speculating that the attack was a show of force and dominance:

In other words, even people outside China are being weaponized to target things the Chinese Government does not like, for example, freedom of speech.

A record of all status messages regarding the attack can be accessed here.

Natali Vlatko
An Australian who calls Berlin home, via a two year love affair with Singapore. Natali was an Editorial Assistant for (S&S Media Group).

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