Yesterday afternoon, Chinese internet users expecting to search China’s Baidu search engine or the Weibo social media site were redirected to website associated with Freegate, an anticensorship software tied to the Falun Gong.
According to the internet security company Qihoo 360, about 2/3 of traffic from China was redirected for more than an hour. The Wall Street Journal obtained an interview with Freegate founder Bill Xia, who told the Journal:
“It was hundreds of thousands of users per second. They were sending [all of] China to us, so it’s hundreds of millions of users. It’s still ongoing. We didn’t see it die out. Maybe they fixed it for some part of China … but it’s still really heavy traffic.”
Xia went on to say that the error was likely cause by the Chinese government as they changed the settings for the Great Firewall.
Which is glaringly, self-evidently not the truth. Why in the world would the Chinese government send people to a censorship avoidance software?
UPDATE, 4:55 pm: GreatFire.org weighs in:
Yesterday we witnessed one of the largest Internet outages ever in China. We have three theories about why this outage may have occurred – two related to the Falun Gong but our third theory is that the Chinese authorities set out to attack our unblockable mirror websites.
…We have conclusive evidence that this outage was caused by the Great Firewall (GFW). DNS poisoning is used extensively by the GFW. Some articles that have appeared about this outage suspected that the root DNS server in China was hacked and all domains hijacked to 18.104.22.168. This could explain why DNS servers in China were poisoned.