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Internet attack 'organized' says Ministry

THERE was an organised Internet attack on Tuesday night which caused serious congestion in several provinces and left millions of users unable to gain access to the Internet, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology said.

This is the first time the regulator has published news about an investigation into an online attack in China within 24 hours, Shanghai Daily has learned.

Netizens in Shanxi, Guangxi, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Hebei Provinces found themselves unable to access the Internet from 9pm on Tuesday. The net returned to normal at 1am on Wednesday, the ministry said on its Website last night.

Shanghai users were not affected.

"It was an attack on DNS (Domain Name System) and the carriers and related firms should do more back-up to avoid similar incidents," the ministry said in a statement.

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a hierarchical naming system for computers in the Internet. It associates various information with domain names assigned to certain computers and locates and addresses these devices worldwide. An often used analogy to explain DNS is that it serves as the "phone book" for the Internet by translating computer hostnames into IP addresses.

During the night, repeated requests poured into a DNS server called, which surpassed the capacity of the server and paralyzed it. The users of, which provides online video services, also carried the requests and helped bring the server down, experts at China Telecom and Baofeng said.

Hackers can control thousands of Web-linked computers without their owners knowing. These computers are called "chicken models" and work normally most of the time but are sometimes remotely controlled by hackers, according to Rising, a Beijing-based anti-virus firm.

The ministry did not mention the purpose of the attack and experts suspect it could be a test for hackers to see how many "chicken models" can be recruited.


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