The United States will press China to comprehensively investigate reports that Chinese attackers, probably state sponsored, were behind a massive cyber attack against prominent U.S. websites.
State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke said the U.S. is “concerned by reports that China has used a new cyber capability to interfere with the ability of worldwide Internet users to access content hosted outside of China”
“The cyber attack manipulated international web traffic intended for one of China’s biggest web services companies and turned it into malicious traffic directed at U.S. sites,”
The Chinese government has repeatedly denied it had anything to do with the attack so it appears unlikely any real action will be taken by the repressive communist country.
Yet the attack used a tool dubbed ‘Great Cannon’ that hijacks traffic and re-routes it, at huge scale, to attack any computer which communicates with Chinese servers.
Cyber security firm Cylance said the tool is “one of the biggest cyber weapons that has become publicly known.”
“Every user in China could be potentially weaponized by their government,” he said. Given the size of the population in China that means hundreds of millions of the country’s computers could be hijacked and pointed at enemies of the state, all without their knowledge or consent.
The request to China sends a strong message that the U.S. will not stand by as China tries to exert censorship on websites beyond its borders.
The march attacks were against code-sharing website GitHub and lasted for nearly a week. The scale of the attacks was among the largest that have ever been observed in the wild and point clearly to a state sanctioned actor.