GitHub suffers ‘largest DDoS’ attack in site’s history

30 Mar 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Coding Website GitHub Hit With Cyberattack.

(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.A U.S. coding website has been crippled by a distributed denial of service — also known as DDoS — that began Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reported.Over in China censorship of certain content online and speaking out against the government are activities that the authorities over there don’t look upon favorably, which is why it isn’t surprising to find popular websites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google, and more are banned from being accessed by the general population.

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. That being said a coding website in the US – GitHub – has recently come under attack courtesy of a DDoS which apparently has been routing traffic meant for China’s most popular search engine to the website. 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.

Security experts said the traffic onslaught—called a distributed denial-of-service attack in Internet circles—directed huge amounts of traffic from overseas users of Chinese search giant Baidu Inc. to GitHub, paralyzing GitHub’s website at times. 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. For those who might not know, GitHub Inc. helps large technology firms create software and considers itself the world’s largest code host, Reuters reported Sunday. Given the massive population of China, we can only imagine that this would be an insane amount of traffic that the website would have to deal with in a short matter of time.

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. One page was run by Greatfire.org, which helps Chinese users circumvent government censorship, while the other linked to a copy of the New York Times’s Chinese language website. It happens when a website is flooded with so much traffic it crashes. “We are currently experiencing the largest DDoS attack in GitHub.com’s history,” the website wrote on its blog Friday. “Based on reports we’ve received, we believe the intent of this attack is to convince us to remove a specific class of content. 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. The company has continued to post updates to its Twitter account since the attack began. “87 hours in, our mitigation is deflecting most attack traffic.

When a user navigated to the Baidu search engine, they said, a code was activated that sent continuous requests for data from the user’s computer to GitHub. By tapping overseas users, the hackers made the attack harder to block, because the requests to GitHub came from all over the world and looked like typical requests for information. But because GitHub’s site is encrypted, outside observers can’t tell whether users who go there are seeking ordinary programming code or anticensorship content similar to what Greatfire.org offers. Greatfire.org’s GitHub page contains links to copies of 10 websites blocked in China, including an uncensored version of the popular social-media service Weibo.

Earlier this year China began directing some traffic from banned websites to seemingly random real websites outside China, temporarily taking those websites offline. At the beginning of the year, China also cracked down on virtual private networks, the most popular type of tool for circumventing the firewall, but many VPNs used in China are now functioning again.

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