We are under attack

We are under attack and we need help.

Likely in response to a recent story in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), we’ve experienced our first ever distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack. This tactic is used to bring down web pages by flooding them with lots of requests - at the time of writing they number 2.6 billion requests per hour. Websites are not equipped to handle that kind of volume so they usually “break” and go offline.

This kind of attack is aggressive and is an exhibition of censorship by brute force. Attackers resort to tactics like this when they are left with no other options.

We are not equipped to handle a DDoS attack of this magnitude and we need help. Some background:

  • The attack started on March 17 and we are receiving up to 2.6 billion requests per hour which is about 2500 times more than normal levels.

  • This attack affects all of our mirror websites. While we have talked openly about our method of using collateral freedom to unblock websites and mobile apps that have been blocked by the Chinese authorities, the WSJ story clearly stated how the strategy works and how it is being used successfully to deliver uncensored content into China. Blocked websites that we have liberated in China include Boxun, Deutsche Welle and Google.

  • We don’t know who is behind this attack. However, the attack coincides with increased pressure on our organization over the last few months. The Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) publicly called us “an anti-China website set up by an overseas anti-China organization”. We also know that CAC has put pressure on our IT partners to stop working with us. Recently, we noticed that somebody was trying to impersonate us to intercept our encrypted email.

  • Last week, Reporters Without Borders, an NGO based in Paris, used our open source method of collateral freedom to unblock nine websites around the world, including two of importance to China: Mingjing News and The Tibet Post.

We need your help in the following areas:

  • Because of the number of requests we are receiving, our bandwidth costs have shot up to USD $30,000 per day. Amazon, which is the service we are using, has not yet confirmed whether they will forgo this. If they do not forgo this, this will put a significant squeeze on our operations.

  • We need companies like Amazon to be on our side and, more importantly, on the side of freedom of speech. We need you to tell Amazon that you think that freedom of speech is an important issue and that Amazon, as a leading global enabler of the internet, plays an important role in access to information.

  • We’ve upgraded to faster servers and used other techniques to manage the load and it’s working for now but we fear that the attack may be intensified at any time. We need help to manage this. If you have expertise in this area, please contact Charlie Smith or ping us via Twitter.

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Thu, Nov 30, 2017

About those 674 apps that Apple censored in China

Apple opened the door on its censorship practices in China - but just a crack.

Tue, May 23, 2017

Is China establishing cyber sovereignty in the United States?

Last week Twitter came under attack from a DDoS attack orchestrated by the Chinese authorities. While such attacks are not uncommon for websites like Twitter, this one proved unusual. While the Chinese authorities use the Great Firewall to block harmful content from reaching its citizens, it now uses DDoS attacks to take down content that appears on websites beyond its borders. For the Chinese authorities, it is not simply good enough to “protect” the interests of Chinese citizens at home - in their view of cyber sovereignty, any content that might harm China’s interests must be removed, regardless of where the website is located.

And so last week the Chinese authorities determined that Twitter was the target. In particular, the authorities targeted the Twitter account for Guo Wengui (https://twitter.com/KwokMiles), the rebel billionaire who is slowly leaking information about corrupt Chinese government officials via his Twitter account and through his YouTube videos. Guo appeared to ramp up his whistle-blowing efforts last week and the Chinese authorities, in turn, ramped up theirs.

via https://twitter.com/KwokMiles/status/863689935798374401

Mon, Dec 12, 2016

China is the obstacle to Google’s plan to end internet censorship

It’s been three years since Eric Schmidt proclaimed that Google would chart a course to ending online censorship within ten years. Now is a great time to check on Google’s progress, reassess the landscape, benchmark Google’s efforts against others who share the same goal, postulate on the China strategy and offer suggestions on how they might effectively move forward.

flowers on google china plaque

Flowers left outside Google China’s headquarters after its announcement it might leave the country in 2010. Photo: Wikicommons.

What has Google accomplished since November 2013?

The first thing they have accomplished is an entire rebranding of both Google (now Alphabet) and Google Ideas (now Jigsaw). Throughout this blog post, reference is made to both new and old company names.

Google has started to develop two main tools which they believe can help in the fight against censorship. Jigsaw’s DDoS protection service, Project Shield, is effectively preventing censorship-inspired DDoS attacks and recently helped to repel an attack on Brian Krebs’ blog. The service is similar to other anti-DDoS services developed by internet freedom champions and for-profit services like Cloudflare.

Thu, Nov 24, 2016

Facebook: Please, not like this

Facebook is considering launching a censorship tool that would enable the world’s biggest social network to “enter” the China market. Sadly, nobody will be surprised by anything that Mark Zuckerberg decides to do in order to enter the China market. With such low expectations, Facebook is poised to usurp Apple as China’s favorite foreign intelligence gathering partner. If the company launches in China using this strategy they will also successfully erase any bargaining power that other media organizations may hold with the Chinese authorities.

Tue, Jul 05, 2016

GreatFire.org 现在开始测试VPN在中国的速度和稳定性

在中国有一个普遍观念,如果你有一个可以使用的VPN,那么你应该保持沉默。就信息自由而言,这种观念的问题在于获取知识竟成了一种秘密。今天,我们推出一个项目,希望能够摧毁这种模型。

我们最新的网站,翻墙中心,目的在于实时提供那些能够在中国使用的翻墙方案的信息和数据。在2011年以来我们就已经开始收集在中国被屏蔽的网站,现在我们也将增加那些可用的VPN和其他翻墙工具。

我们发布翻墙中心主要有四个目的。

我们的首要目标是助长使用翻墙工具的国人的数量。通过分享我们这些工具的信息和数据,我们希望对更广泛的受众展示那些工具时可以使用的。

我们的第二个目标是通过带来工具性能的透明化来提升中国用户的翻墙体验。我们将会测试工具的速度(流行网站的加载速度)和稳定性(流行网站加载成功的程度)。

我们开发速度测试的目的是要真实反映用户的体验。当用户在网站测速时,浏览器在后台会从10个世界上最流行的网站上下载一些资源文件。根据Alexa排名,这些网站分别是Google, Facebook, YouTube, Baidu, Amazon, Yahoo, Wikipedia, QQ, Twitter and Microsoft Live。速度的结果是简单的计算下载文件文件的大小和下载所需的时间。我们同样也会验证下载的文件是否完整。如果文件的内容是错误的或者在40秒内无法完成下载,我们会标记为失败。这个数据被我们用来生成另一个重要指标-稳定性。

其他的速度测试工具仅仅是通过发送数据到它们自己的服务器来测量上传和下载的速度。这种数据无法反应用户的体验,因为正常的浏览器通常会频繁的发送一系列的请求(而不是上传或下载一个大文件)到许多的服务器,而不止是一个。

我们的第二个指标 - 稳定性 - 是其他的服务通常不会测试的。一个健康的互联网连接应该达到100%的稳定性,除非有人在测试中把网线拔了。但是在中国使用翻墙工具却不是这样。任何时候连接都有可能变得不稳定或十分缓慢。根据请求的大小,最终的地点和代理的方式,一些请求有可能会失败。比较服务的稳定性要比比较速度更加重要。

你可以测试任意的翻墙工具,列表之外的也可以。中国的VPN用户也可以测试他们的工具,测试结果也会添加到数据库中。这些数据都将会对所有人开放。实时的在中国测试是非常重要的,因为VPN随时都可能被封锁或解封。我们欢迎任何的关于测试过程的反馈。有技术能力的用户也可以通过审查我们的javascript代码来获悉我们的测试是如何工作的。

我们郑重的邀请翻墙工具的开发者们向我们提供测试过程的反馈。我们的第三个目标是帮助这些开发人员改进他们的产品,让更多的选择适用于中国的顾客。此外,越多的工具可以工作,就意味着中国当局对翻墙的打击就会越难。

中国的用户都知道,在过去的18个月中当局加紧了对翻墙工具的攻击。而翻墙中心将会吹响反击的号角。反其道而行之,让这不再成为秘密。我们要鼓励人们分享翻墙工具可以工作的信息。

我们的第四个目标就是要为GreatFire.org创造收益。目前GreatFire仍然依靠世界各地的热心人士和组织的捐款。我们希望减少对这些机构的依赖,并探寻GreatFire.org自给自足的道路。用户只需到翻墙中心就能购买任意一款我们目前在测试的付费工具。GreatFire将作为这些工具在中国的经销商,因此VPN供应商会给予我们每个零售的一部分。用户也不必在中国购买这些翻墙服务。

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Comments

You deserve that for been criminals to the free Internet.

Regarding the DDoS attack - please consider using Cloudflare as a caching layer for your website - they are good when it comes to defending against that sort of attack.

+1 you should sign up to Cloudflare. Let them soak up the attack so you only pay for legit requests.

If you use CloudFlare you'll have to release all your current AWS public IP's and get new ones. Also AWS does give you a layer of protection but it is manual and maybe hard to maintain if the DDoS is from zombies or botnet.

For instance, CloudFlare has a program specially for website that empower freedom speech and I think it won't cost you a penny.

Please sign up for CloudFlare. Even at $200/month you will get significant benefits and DDoS protection, they are REALLY good!

+1 for CloudFlare

这种ddos是对着url进行攻击吧。。amazon的url感觉都是随机生成的,写个api一小时生成一个新的url。。如果是自动抓取就像上次干掉全国dns那样把攻击引导百度cac。gov.cn之类的吧。。。(没用过amazons3不清楚能不能换url)

Sent you an email, let me know if you need help setting Cloudflare up. If nothing else it's a great place to start.

You should look at CloudFlare. They are quipped to handle this sort of thing and they are definitely less than $30k per day!!!

Cloudflare is 'throttled' in China as with all the other CDN's.
Any requests to a CDN based resource are effectively denied.
Think again.

Cloudflare IP addresses is completely blocked in China. Using CF is not a good choice at the moment.

Create an Avaaz campaign to help support your conversation with Amazon? Might be easier than Twitter for a lot of your readers.

Consider deploying on premises protection to defeat the attack at the very edge of your network. @Corero allows for good traffic to pass, while mitigating the DDoS attacks in real-time.

Time to start naming names.

The president of China is Xi Jinping and everyone should know his name. Nothing in China happens without his consent.

Xi Jinping, Xi Jinping, everytime you hear about censorship in China you should think of Xi Jinping. Everytime you write about censorship in China you should make sure and write his name, Xi Jinping.

Rant over, start naming names people.

Use Fail2ban. No cost, easy to load and protects against several forms of attacks. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fail2ban

You can get a similar effect to Cloudflare (unfortunately minus the benefit of their massive infrastructure to absorb traffic) if you install mod_evasive (Apache module) and tune your config a bit. See the DDOS section in the included link, specifically lowering your timeout and keep alive timeout. Also turn down MaxRequestWorkers if your server is spawning too many processes. With mod_evasive, specify the DOSSystemCommand to ban the address using your firewall, for example, with iptables something like:
iptables -A INPUT -s %s -j REJECT
mod_evasive will substitute the %s for the source IP.

Check out:
mod_evasive: https://www.linode.com/docs/websites/apache-tips-and-tricks/modevasive-o...

Apache config: https://httpd.apache.org/docs/trunk/misc/security_tips.html

consider moving your hosting to ovh or online since they do not limit you on traffic. and they are cheap. and they offer the best ddos protection there is!

You may consider explaining to amazon that you are under attack and want the traffic dropped upstream.
Amazon should be able to do better than letting the host application absorb the requests (If they can not, I am rather disapointed).

Kim John Coon's suggestion above to try and identify and filter the abusive traffic with iptables will help take the load off your server.

安装360的用户普遍感觉电脑变慢,天下有免费午餐吗,360有可能利用用户电脑进行云计算或者ddos攻击

I see that the effected services have been blocked to those outside mainland China. Good move to counter this attack, well done.

Time to start naming names.
The president of China is Xi Jinping and everyone should know his name. Nothing in China happens without his consent.

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Just get a firewall. Cisco if it's that bad. Or just use a dedicated ESF server for you're public ip and you'll be protected and it's got a very fast learning curve. We've been fending of attacks every minute from around the world with ESF. You'd be surprised how good this FW is and you don't even need a license.

now we are under attack in AU

blocking, dns fudged to show fake errors, searchines and those widgest they have on so many other websies suddenle become full of outright malicious code .. and that gets worse and worse, even the operating systems (all of them) spit out fake error messages ... some stuff like that even in linux source code .. all operating syste, agffected and the symptoms are the same .. files mysteruiously get deleted (even text files and code), sites get blocked and things reguce to cionnect to local networks unless that is connected to to the outside .. everything suddenly wanting centralised "cloud" logins, and a lot of nasty code snuck into operating syustem updates .. seems like in the last month or so its suddenly malware everywhere on EVERY OS ..
and try searching for a clan install iso of anything and you are quickly under attack from just about everything out there ... ... seems like not just one corrupt corporation but a consortium of the most corrupt corporations on earth and ALL of it seems to be trying to bully people into handing over admin of their OWN pc to unknown third parties i"in the cloud"

THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL I AM GOING TO TRUST SUCH OBVIOUSLY CORRUPT COMPANIES AND NO WAY IN HELL I WOULD TRUST SOMEONE TRYING TO FORCE ME TO TRUST THEM..

"management" stops at the front router .. that the way it will STAY ..

do not EVER give in to those creeps - DO NOT BUY THEIR STUFF - make sure everyone knows

yes it IS getting into OS updates ..
in open source systems have a look! .. thetre are error messages designed to MISLEAD the users - obviously something malicious got in .. and where theres no siource code the effect is the same top - its in EVERYTHING that was updated over the last couple of months.

now the government here even officially passed a bill to fo censorship! .. and its happening all over the world .. same stuff about "metadata retention" .. and they talkk about usage data.. NO - its obiously a LOY more than that if they are putting code on every user pc, deleting their data witrhour warning, and even the error meressages lie and every attempt to get rid of it by trying to find a frees clean distro iso met with attack after attack .. javsript everwhere not just tracking bout way more malicious .. attacks from every direction .. never seen anything this bad... and anty info seems impossible to find ..
censorship everywhere

never would have thought it woyuld become like that over here.. but looks like the same talk from politicians, the same trolling and sloganising from corporations

probably not hard to giess what went on atr those secretive "trade talks"

this looks like planet scale totalitarism .. corruuption fgone mad ..

isd there anything left that is safe? .. how will anyone be abloe to da anyithing if you don;t know id that file will get deleted just after you save it!!!!

and its obviously for censorship , not "copyright" or any other broken nonsense .. whate else could it be if text files and code set it off even more than music or video and it doesn't seem to care whether you made it.

seems like its the worse malweare ever seen coming from every directopm at the same tind along with it a lot of suspicious trolling and "social engineering"

all I can find is the occasional leftover hint ... news items explaining anything rare (probably censored)

MAKE SURE THEY DON:T GET A SINGLE CENT.

it looks like a consortium f the most corrupt corporations on earth have been changing the law in every counltry precendent by precedent over the last decade and syicking their dirrty fingers into everything.. not it sems the have a leash on nearly every government and their security agencies .. the most corrupt corporations on earth - and those obvously stacked meetings of so called "standards bodies" in recent years .. yes they are even hijacking network protocols...

.. probably not hard now to guess what went on in those secretive talks .. with all that happening since then

no MANAGEMENT STOPS AT THE FRONT DOOR AND THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL I WILL LET THEM GO ANY FURTHER.

what sort of idiot would want to trust lowlife like that with anything?

by now they should know what I think if their "cloud" bullshit!

no .. no way
I would want let third party "management" run by people so corrupt near any box let alone break things, delete data and try to destry my life! .... I will fight in anyt way I can to keep those
creeps out.

it might help if there was a still a way to communicate with anyone without anything important or even slightly interesting disappearing .. but nonetheless they are not getting in my jouse .., I never wanted to be anyones enemy and won;t be selling out to their ways and hurtunbg anyone .. but I sure as hell won;t lert them control anything here!

so angry I can barely type...

don;'t want to even think about what other people might do .,.

no i despite how bad the furureits looking I just won;t put up with it ..
btrining that inot my house makes it *personal* and we must make sure EVERY company or person who helped them attack us NEVER EVER gets a cent out of ANYONE

yes - Im angry..

intersing though - if this were a file on my h
no i despite how bad the furureits looking I just won;t put up with it ..
btrining that inot my house makes it *personal* and we must make sure EVERY company or person who helped them attack us NEVER EVER gets a cent out of ANYONE

yes - I'm angry..

and don't wan't any "management" crap destroying my life .

and I never try to hurt anyone.. I'm actually still human, unlike those creeps

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