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Blog   |   Burma, China, Internet, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Russia, Sweden, Tunisia

Protecting yourself from denial-of-service attacks

It's my second link to a report by Hal Roberts (and others at the Berkman Center) in as many days, but I worry that this this detailed document on denial-of-service (DOS) and hacking attacks on independent media and human rights groups might get missed in the holiday season.

The news headlines in the last few weeks have been full of stories of how DOS attacks can bring down even high-profile websites, often with relatively little technical expertise on behalf of the attackers. Such attacks are nothing new to online journalists across the world, however. Just this year, CPJ has dealt with cases of independent news sites being taken offline by remote Internet attacks in China, Burma, Vietnam, Russia, Kazakhstan, and now Belarus.

The Berkman Center's report details over three hundred other cases from 1998 onwards, from Sweden to North Korea. More important, the researchers interviewed the victims of these attacks, and categorized what defenses were practical and effective -- and what did not work.

If you're an online journalist with powerful opponents, I'd strongly encourage you to read this document and pass it along to your tech-savvy associates. Even a small amount of preparation can help keep vital news and opinion available online when you -- and your readers -- most need it.

December 21, 2010 3:31 PM ET

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Blog   |   China

How to show support for Liu Xiaobo...in China

Southern Metropolis Daily's front page.

Although China continues to censor references to imprisoned writer Liu Xiaobo's Nobel peace prize in the news and online, some have been finding creative ways to express support for him. An outspoken newspaper published a front-page picture featuring empty chairs on Sunday, in what appears to be a covert reference to the seat left vacant for Liu during Friday's ceremony in Oslo. 

December 15, 2010 10:46 AM ET

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Blog   |   China

An empty chair in Oslo shows China is empty of media ideas

Members of Nobel Peace Prize committee flank a chair left empty for Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo, who remains jailed in China. (Toby Melville/Reuters)

It was more than Liu Xiaobo's chair that was empty at Thursday's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony. What was also on display to the world was China's lack of a new approach to media that goes beyond its decades-old approach of controlling through denial and suppression. 

December 10, 2010 6:05 PM ET

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Blog   |   Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Internet, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Malaysia, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

Fighting bogus piracy raids, Microsoft issues new licenses

CPJ has documented for several years the use of spurious anti-piracy raids to shut down and intimidate media organizations in Russia and the former Soviet republics. Offices have been shut down, and computers seized. Often, security agents make bogus claims to be representing or acting on behalf of the U.S. software company Microsoft.

December 7, 2010 3:10 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Internet

Chinese hackers targeting human rights news sites

Nart Villeneuve has published a detailed summary of recent malware attacks on media and human rights groups who work on Chinese issues. He highlights a disturbing new trend. On Wednesday, Amnesty Hong Kong's website was repurposed by hackers to infect visitors with a wide variety of nasty malware. The Nobel Prize's website was also defaced earlier this month, for the same ends.

As with the e-mailed Nobel invite malware CPJ described earlier this week, these attacks target one vulnerable member of the dissident community, then use that person's own communications to infect others.

If you're an organization whose audience in China is of interest to the authorities, please take extra care with the security of your website. As Villeneuve says, even if this spate of attacks ebbs, attacking online news sites to spread targeted spyware is a trend that is bound to continue.

November 12, 2010 1:37 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burma, China, Internet, Thailand

Internet Blotter

November 11, 2010 10:10 AM ET

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Blog   |   China, Internet

That Nobel invite? Mr. Malware sent it

The Nobel Committee, as it turns out, didn't invite the author. A Nobel is going to jailed Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo. (Reuters/Kin Cheung)This weekend, staff at CPJ received a personal invitation to attend the Oslo awards ceremony for Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo. The invite, curiously, was in the form of an Adobe PDF document. We didn't accept. We didn't even open the e-mail. We did, however, begin analyzing the document to see was really inside that attachment, and what it was planning to do to our staff's computers.

November 10, 2010 9:16 AM ET

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Blog   |   Burma, China, Internet, Peru, Turkey

Internet Blotter

November 4, 2010 4:17 PM ET

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Blog   |   China, Internet, Tajikistan, Thailand

Internet Blotter

October 27, 2010 5:29 PM ET

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