DDoS

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Alerts   |   China

Boxun news site attacked amid Bo Xilai coverage

Boxun News website was attacked after reporting on the scandal involving Bo Xilai. (AFP/Frederic J. Brown)

New York, April 25, 2012--The U.S.-based, Chinese-language news website Boxun has come under two crippling denial-of-service attacks in the past week as the outlet sought to report on the unfolding murder and corruption scandal involving former senior Communist Party leader Bo Xilai. The attacks forced Boxun to change its hosting company twice, the site's founder and editor Watson Meng told the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Meng, who spoke to CPJ from his home in North Carolina, said he had not been able to trace the source of the denial-of-service attacks but believed they were in reprisal for Boxun's reporting on Bo Xilai and his ally Zhou Yongkang, the Communist Party's security chief, whose political fate has also been the subject of speculation this month. The first attack, on Friday, was so severe that it not only threatened Boxun but its entire hosting service, name.com. Denial-of-service attacks overload host servers with external communications requests, thus preventing websites from functioning. 

Alerts   |   Mexico

Mexican weekly goes offline after cyberattack

New York, November 28, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by reports of a cyberattack on Mexican weekly Ríodoce that forced its website offline on Friday. Ríodoce is one of the few publications to cover crime and drug trafficking in Mexico.

November 28, 2011 4:54 PM ET

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Blog   |   Burma

Burmese exile news site endures hacking, DDoS attacks

Like other Burmese exile-run media, the Irrawaddy has been plagued by numerous denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks in recent years that have forced its website to be shut down. Now, Aung Zaw, the publication's founder and editor, believes Burma's military-backed regime has adopted a new cyber-attack strategy that aims to undermine the exile media's credibility among readers.
May 2, 2011 11:57 AM ET

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Reports   |   Belarus, Burma, China, Cuba, Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran, Russia, Syria, Tunisia

The 10 Tools of Online Oppressors

The world’s worst online oppressors are using an array of tactics, some reflecting astonishing levels of sophistication, others reminiscent of old-school techniques. From China’s high-level malware attacks to Syria’s brute-force imprisonments, this may be only the dawn of online oppression. A CPJ special report by Danny O’Brien

A security line outside Google's Beijing office. (AP/Andy Wong)

Alerts   |   Malaysia

Ahead of election, cyber-attacks cripple online media

Bangkok, April 19, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by cyber-attacks against three news and commentary sites that preceded Saturday's important election in Malaysia's Sarawak state, on the island of Borneo. The country's main news portal Malaysiakini,  Sarawak Report, and the Malay and English versions of the opposition Harakahdaily website all reported similar attacks. Nobody has taken responsibility for them.

April 19, 2011 4:23 PM ET

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Alerts   |   China

CPJ calls on China to stop inhibiting international press

New York, March 7, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists rejects statements by a Chinese government official that international reporters are not being detained, attacked, and harassed in China. CPJ calls on the police to end their anti-media attempts to stop foreign journalists from reporting on possible anti-government demonstrations in what has become known as the "Jasmine Revolution." Instead, they should act in accordance with Chinese government regulations which protect their right to work freely in China, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. 

Attacks on the Press

Attacks on the Press 2010: Internet Analysis

Exposing the Internet's shadowy assailants

In this photo taken by an undercover journalist for the Democratic Voice of Burma, an online, exile-run news agency, Buddhist monks lead protests against the Burmese military junta. (DVB/AP)

by Danny O'Brien

For the past decade, those who used the Internet to report the news might have assumed that the technological edge was in their favor. But online journalists now face more than just the standard risks to those working in dangerous conditions. They find themselves victims of new attacks unique to the new medium. From online surveillance of writers through customized malicious software to "just in time" censorship that can wipe controversial news sites off the Internet at the most inconvenient moment, the online tools to attack the press are getting smarter and spreading further.

Attacks on the Press   |   Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Serbia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan

Attacks on the Press 2010: Europe and Central Asia Analysis

On the Runet, Old-School Repression Meets New

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev launched a blog but the Kremlin promised to tightly control who can comment on it. (Reuters)

By Nina Ognianova and Danny O'Brien

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has often talked about the importance of a free press and free Internet, telling reporters before his election that the Web "guarantees the independence of mass media." He explicitly tied the two together in his first State of the Union address in November 2008, declaring that "freedom of speech should be backed up by technological innovation" and that no government official "can obstruct discussion on the Internet."

Blog   |   Burma, Internet

Wordpress: Helping journalists under cyber-attack

Blog hosting site Wordpress.com have just announced a great new feature which is also a simple way that hosting companies can help journalists under attack online. The blogging hosting site now lets you automatically redirect your old Wordpress web address to wherever you move to when you switch blog hosting services. When your readers come to the old site, they get automatically forwarded to your new address. Wordpress.com uses a technique that lets Google and other search engines know you've moved too.

That's not just a good customer relations exercise: it's a vital tool for journalists who have to switch services in a hurry -- not because they want to, but because they're under attack from hackers. In cases like that, it's the hosting service who often "encourages" them to move on before they bring down the rest of their customers.

Controversial news sites, like Russian investigative magazine Novaya Gazeta or, most recently, much of Burma's independent media-in-exile, can get taken off the Net with malicious distributed denial-of-service (DDOS) attacks.

It's not only the targeted web site that gets blown offline by a DDOS. If it's on a shared server, all those other sites may be taken down too. And if the hosting service the news site uses pays for bandwidth, they could be saddled with a huge bill which no-one will be able to pay.

It's not surprising then that many hosting services would rather a controversial website leave than continue to cost them money and threaten their service to other clients.

I wish more big hosts would stand by their customers, but I understand why sometimes they can't. Making the passage when a customer moves onto another, more resilient web hsot, is not something that any company has to do for their clients, and it's not something that all hosts think about. But when you're dealing with independent media that may have to find a new home in a hurry, features like redirects can make all the difference between news sites that keep their readers during a DDOS, and those who lose them forever.

October 5, 2010 11:46 AM ET

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Alerts   |   Burma

Burma's exile media hit by cyber-attacks

Bangkok, September 27, 2010--The Committee to Protect Journalists is gravely concerned by cyber-attacks against three exile-run Burma news outlets, Irrawaddy, Mizzima News, and the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB). The distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks have shut Irrawaddy's main website while temporarily blocking access to Mizzima's site.

September 27, 2010 2:00 PM ET

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