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6/4/2009
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Hackers Arrested In China After Feud Causes Major Outage

DDoS feud between underground gaming services allegedly caused temporary Internet outage across more than 20 provinces

Four individuals have been arrested in China after an alleged denial-of-service "war" between underground gaming services spun out of control, according to news reports.

According to a report by Xinhua News Agency, China's Ministry of Public Security said Tuesday that the suspects were detained on May 29 following police investigations in the Jiangsu, Zhejiang, and Guangdong provinces. The suspects were not named, although the surnames of two -- Xu and Wang -- were released.

The ministry told the news agency that on May 19, the suspects allegedly launched a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack against the servers of DNSPod, a Chinese DNS provider and domain registrar.

According to the report, the DDoS attacks were motivated by fierce competition between unauthorized online gaming service providers, which lure gamers from official providers with less limited and free access. In order to sabotage "competitors," the suspects began an attack against DNSPod, which provides access to some of those unauthorized gaming sites.

Unfortunately, the attack triggered a chain reaction because DNSPod's servers were also used by Baofeng, a highly popular Chinese video-streaming service.

"Once millions of Baofeng users submitted their video application, their unanswered DNS requests were passed on to higher-level servers that didn't know how to process them," the news report says. "The requests piled up, and the resulting traffic jam slowed or halted Internet access."

Internet users in more than 20 provinces were affected on May 19, the ministry said. It was described as the "worst Internet incident in China" since an earthquake damaged undersea cables near Taiwan on Dec. 26, 2006.

Internet access returned to normal several hours later. But the incident caused widespread calls in China for increasing safety measures of Internet, according to the report.

Baofeng reportedly has announced it will recall 120 million online video playing software whose faulty design was believed to have automatically caused continuous requests on the server.

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message. Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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