Coding forum Github hit by cyber attack

30 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

DDOS Attack Targets Popular Anti-Censorship Projects on Github.

U.S. coding site GitHub said on Sunday that it was deflecting most of the traffic from a days-long cyber attack that had caused intermittent outages for the social coding site, with the Wall Street Journal citing China as the source of the attack. “Eighty-seven hours in, our mitigation is deflecting most attack traffic. (Bloomberg) — GitHub Inc., a U.S. website designed for computer programmers, has been under attack since Thursday in what may be an attempt by China to disrupt efforts to circumvent that country’s censorship policies.

Looks like it pissed off the wrong pro-censorship group: The attack is aimed at two popular Github projects, Great Fire and CN-NY Times, that help Chinese citizens get around their government’s restrictive online censors to access blocked content. New York time on Sunday. “We’re aware of intermittent issues and continue to adapt our response.” About three hours later GitHub said its evolving tactics were improving performance. The attackers are using China’s search engine Baidu to conduct a sort of “HTTP hijacking,” in the words of the security researcher from Insight Labs who discovered how the attack was going down. Roland Dobbins, a senior computer-security analyst with Arbor Networks Inc., said in a telephone interview that the incident appears to be a so-called reflection attack in which traffic is redirected from other sites to overwhelm the victim.

GitHub, which hosts developers’ coding projects online, found an onslaught of traffic directed at two specific pages on its platform that linked to copies of two sites that are banned in China —, a resource that tracks content blocked in the country, and The New York Times’ Chinese language site. He said he doesn’t have any insight on who is behind it and that tracking down a culprit often is less important than a strong defense against the attacks. It appears that people with access to the traffic on the border of China’s internet — often called the Great Firewall of China — injected a malicious script into the HTTP connections of these visitors. At the time of writing, GitHub reports that it still under attack, but it has managed to bring the situation under control and its site is available to users as usual. The attack manipulated traffic to Baidu from users who accessed the search engine from outside China and sent requests for data from their computers to GitHub.

This made the attack more difficult to block, as it resembled typical traffic from around the world and not a single source attempting to bombard the site with data requests. The company said, “Based on reports we’ve received, we believe the intent of this attack is to convince us to remove a specific class of content.”

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