Quantcast
Connect with us

Telegram traces cyber-attack during HK protests to China

Published

on

Encrypted messaging service Telegram suffered a major cyber-attack that originated from China, the company’s CEO said Thursday, linking it to the ongoing political unrest in Hong Kong.

Many protesters in the city have used Telegram to evade electronic surveillance and coordinate their demonstrations against a controversial Beijing-backed plan that would allow extraditions from the semi-autonomous territory to the mainland.

ADVERTISEMENT

Demonstrations descended into violence Wednesday as police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters who tried to storm the city’s parliament — the worst political crisis Hong Kong has seen since its 1997 handover from Britain to China.

Telegram announced Wednesday that it was suffering a “powerful” Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack, which involves a hacker overwhelming a target’s servers by making a massive number of junk requests.

It warned that users in many regions may face connection issues.

Pavel Durov, Telegram’s CEO, said the junk requests came mostly from China.

GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File / Steve Jennings Telegram CEO Pavel Durov has pointed at China over the massive cyber-attack on its servers, linking it to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong

“Historically, all state actor-sized DDoS (200-400 Gb/s of junk) we experienced coincided in time with protests in Hong Kong (coordinated on @telegram),” he tweeted.

ADVERTISEMENT

“This case was not an exception.”

Telegram later announced on Twitter that its service had stabilised. It also posted a series of tweets explaining the nature of the attack.

“Imagine that an army of lemmings just jumped the queue at McDonald’s in front of you -– and each is ordering a whopper,” it said, referring to the flagship product of Burger King.

ADVERTISEMENT

“The server is busy telling the whopper lemmings they came to the wrong place -– but there are so many of them that the server can’t even see you to try and take your order.”

– Evading surveillance –

ADVERTISEMENT

When asked about Durov’s claim the attack originated from China, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said he was not aware of the incident.

AFP/File / Yuri KADOBNOV Encrypted messaging apps like Telegram are used around the world by a wide variety of people trying to avoid surveillance by authorities

“What I can tell you here is that China has always opposed any form of cyber-attacks. China is also a victim of cyber-attacks,” Geng said at a regular press briefing in Beijing.

China’s cyberspace administration did not immediately respond to AFP’s request for comment.

ADVERTISEMENT

Telegram was launched in 2013, and allows users to exchange encrypted text messages, photos and videos, and also create “channels” for as many as 200,000 people. It also supports encrypted voice calls.

The firm announced last year that it had crossed 200 million monthly active users.

Encrypted messaging apps like Telegram and WhatsApp are preferred around the world by a wide variety of people trying to avoid surveillance by authorities — from Islamic State jihadists and drug dealers to human rights activists and journalists.

Governments in recent years have devoted significant resources to try and breach or bypass the security features of these apps, according to tech firms and researchers. Some states have outright banned them.

ADVERTISEMENT

Hong Kong is not behind China’s Great Firewall, which heavily restricts internet access in the mainland — where Telegram is blocked.

The city’s special status under its handover agreement allows freedoms unseen in mainland China, but many fear they are under threat as Beijing exerts increasing influence on Hong Kong.

The current protests were sparked by fears the proposed law would allow extraditions to China and leave people exposed to the mainland’s politicised and opaque justice system.


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

WATCH: Saturday Night Live airs Christmas special — that’s just one giant dig at the Electoral College

Published

on

NBC's "Saturday Night Live" aired an opening skit that was just one giant attack on the electoral college.

A snowman introduced the segment, saying that we could look in on the holiday table conversation thanks to hacked Nest cams.

The skit featured a house in San Francisco, California, a second in Charleston, South Carolina and a third in Atlanta, Georgia.

Each dinner table debated impeachment, and the differences between President Donald Trump and his predecessor, President Barack Obama.

But then the snowman said that none of their votes matter.

"They'll debate the issues all year long, but then it all comes down to 1,000 people in Wisconsin who won't even think about the election until the morning of," the snowman said. "And that's the magic of the Electoral College."

Continue Reading

Breaking Banner

Georgia mayor being recalled for racism resigns from office: report

Published

on

Hoschton Mayor Theresa Kenerly resigned in a special city council meeting held on Saturday, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported Saturday.

"The resignation came just days after Councilman Jim Cleveland resigned saying he‘d rather leave office on his own terms than face voters in a recall election next month," the newspaper reported. "Both resignations follow an AJC investigation launched seven months ago into claims that an African American candidate for city administrator was sidetracked by Mayor Theresa Kenerly because of his race."

Continue Reading
 

Breaking Banner

Nine 2020 Democrats unite to demand DNC Chair Tom Perez scrap debate rules: report

Published

on

The Democratic National Committee is facing a revolt for the party's 2020 presidential candidates for its restrictive debate rules.

"Nine Democratic presidential candidates, including the party's front-runners, are urging the Democratic National Committee to toss out the current polling and fundraising rules used to determine who appears in televised debates and reopen the exchanges to better reflect the historic diversity of the current field. The candidates say the rules exclude diverse candidates in the field from participating," CBS News reported Saturday evening.

Continue Reading