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Online attack locks up Net in several provinces

AN organized Internet attack on Tuesday night caused serious congestion in several provinces and autonomous region, left millions of users unable to access 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.

People in Shanxi, Zhejiang, Jiangsu and Hebei provinces and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region were 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.

DNS can be described as the "phone book" for the Internet by translating computer host names 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 also carried the requests, 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 when not remotely controlled.

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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