Sunday, April 08, 2012

Anonymous hackers attack Chinese govt websites

The hacking of up to 500 Chinese websites by the group Anonymous may have rattled the authorities, though they were initially reticent to even confirm that attacks even took place.

Many of the sites targeted were government websites with messages posted calling for an end to the strict censorship that users of the Internet experience in the country.

Some of the pages were accompanied with the Guns n’ Roses track Chinese Democracy and pictures of people wearing Guy Fawkes masks, drawn from the movie V for Vendetta.

In a long message in Chinese, one post read: “Message to the Chinese government: Over the years, the Chinese communist government has used unfair laws and unhealthy processes to control the people.”

“Dear Chinese government, you are not infallible , and today the website is blocked, tomorrow it will be your evil regime that will collapse. So do not think we will give up, we will never give up. For what you have done to the people today, tomorrow will see retaliation. There will be no hint of forgiveness.”

In a message aimed at what the hackers called their Chinese friends, the hackers offer solidarity. “We are with you,” the post reads. “Tomorrow and beyond we will guarantee your freedom.”

It implores the Chinese not to give up hope and continue in what it calls a “revolution created in your heart.”

The hackers also criticised what it calls the “silence of other countries” which it claimed “has highlighted China's lack of democracy and justice.”

Many of the sites had been restored within hours of the attacks, however dozens of sites remained defaced some four days after the hacks began. and were just two examples that remained defaced on Sunday [8th April]. Others showed blank pages or a message in Chinese [网站正在维护中……] saying “The website is under maintenance …” [ Full list of sites attacked ]

As well as defacement, Anonymous hackers also leaked administrator accounts, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses [BBC / CNN / PA / Daily Mail / Washington Post / ZDNet].

The attacks are turn of the tables for China, which is itself often blamed for perpetrating its own concerted cyber-attacks on foreign competitors or governments. But where Beijing will be particularly concerned is over the apparent hacking and leaking of sensitive information from a military contractor.

The hacker who goes by the name Hardcore Charlie claims to have uncovered thousands of internal documents after breaking into the network of a Chinese company with defence contracts. In communication with Reuters, the hacker said he managed to access the computer system of the Beijing-based China National Import & Export Corp (CEIEC).

He posted documents on file-sharing sites ranging from purported US military transport information to internal reports about business matters. While the authenticity of the documents cannot be independently confirmed there will certainly be concerns running through government circles both in China and abroad [Guardian / Register / ZDNet / eSecurityPlanet / Softpedia].

Within days Hardcore Charlie’s Photobucket page had been taken down and returned a 404 error page. The files he uploaded were however accessible at the time of writing [DepositFiles] something he was encouraging his Twitter followers to download

China and the US have remained quiet and released no comment concerning the alleged breaches at the CEIEC, though China did finally admit it had been the target of cyber-attacks on a number of websites last week.

Spokesman Hong Lei said that "certain reports prove again" that Chinese sites had been hacked. But he condemned the motives of those who criticise Chinese censorship insisting China’s Internet was free.

"First of all, China's Internet is open to all, users enjoy total freedom online. China has gained 500 million netizens and 300 million bloggers in a very short period of time, which shows the attraction and openness of China's Internet," Hong said.

"Secondly, the Chinese government manages the Internet according to law and regulations. Thirdly, certain reports prove again that China is a victim of Internet hacker attacks."

Unsurprisingly reports of the hacking attacks were not carried in official news media. Xinhua failed to report the activities of Anonymous, despite having reported their attacks on US and other targets in the past. The claim that netizens had “total freedom online” was widely condemned on Chinese micro-blogs, though many such comments along with references to the hacking were being systematically deleted from the web by censors over the weekend.

The attacks come only days after the country suspended comments on China's most popular micro-blogging sites, Sina's Weibo and Tencent's QQ. The two-day suspension was required to "clean up rumours and other illegal information spread through micro-blogs," Xinhua reported. Authorities also closed 16 websites and detained six people for allegedly spreading rumours of "military vehicles entering Beijing and something wrong going on in Beijing," a spokesperson for the State Internet Information Office told Xinhua.

The ousting of former Chongqing boss Bo Xilai has driven much of the online speculation. His purge from office last month has prompted a flurry of news stories to surface ranging from connections to a planned coup to links to the death of a British businessman, Neil Heywood, who some suggest might have been murdered.

tvnewswatch, London, UK

Full Chinese text posted on defaced websites: 患难见真情 大家好! 给中国政府的讯息: 这些年来,中国共产政府都以不公平的法律和不健康的过程去管制人民。 亲爱的中国政府,你不是永不倒下的,今天的网站被黑,明天就是你邪恶的政权倒下。 所以不要以为我们会放弃,永远都不会放弃。你今天向人民所做的一切,明天就会加倍还回去。不会有一丝宽容。



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