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.