China’s Great Firewall blamed for random traffic peaks
Websites, servers across Internet taken down by alleged ‘bug’ introduced to censorship net
A series of damaging traffic spikes on random websites across the Internet is being blamed on redirected requests from China by the nation's Great Firewall, The Register reported.
The incidents are spread across the Web and reportedly stem from a recent upgrade to the Firewall, which China's strict cyber censors use to control information flow.
A North Carolina-based site owner Craig Hockenberry blogged that his mail server recently went down and, as he investigated, he discovered that the IPs from the flood were commonly from China, trying to reach Facebook or Bittorrent sites.
Hockenberry clocked peak traffic of 52Mbps. Based on an average 500 bytes per request, this is the equivalent of 13,000 requests per second, which is beyond Web-trend traffic and around a third of Google's average search traffic.
The Register cited other examples of sites experiencing similar outages to Hockenberry. It also cited tech experts who believe that a bug has been introduced into China's Great Firewall.
The Firewall works by applying DNS poisoning techniques to redirect China's citizens away from sites its authorities disapprove of and towards alternative IP addresses. Previously, these addresses would have been unused, but now they are going to extant sites that may not have the infrastructure to withstand the volume thrown at them.
Meanwhile, back in China, tens of millions of users could not access the Internet. According to Chinese anti-virus maker, Qihoo 360, two-thirds of the country's websites were affected and the government had to work feverishly to fix the problem.
But China's DNS specialists blamed parties outside the country's infrastructure for the traffic activity.
"The industry needs to give more attention to prevent stronger DNS-related attacks," said Li Xiaodong, executive director of China's Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC).