CNN.com survives random outages

Outages or inflated response times could be result of planned anti-Western media attacks by nationalistic Chinese computer hackers.

Although CNN escaped a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack planned for Saturday, the site has experienced either random outages or inflated response times over the last 72 hours, according to one Internet research company.

Netcraft reported Tuesday that during a three-hour period on Sunday morning, the CNN.com site was unavailable from its listening post in Pennsylvania. And on Monday, the site experienced inflated response times. CNN.com did suffer a minor DDoS last Thursday, but recovered by limiting access from certain geographic areas, mainly Asia.

Also on Tuesday, The Dark Visitor, a site that tracks Chinese hackers, said a downloadable tool is now available for those wanting to participate in future attacks. Over the weekend, The Dark Visitor reported on the structure in place for launching attacks on Western media. The individuals, loosely calling themselves "Revenge for the Flame" and "HackCNN" feel that Western media have not presented a balanced view in reporting on the protests in Tibet and the Olympic torch runs through major world cities.

For the most part, CNN appears to have avoided the brunt of the Chinese DDoS attacks.

That wasn't the case with The Sports Network. On Monday morning, the site (not affiliated with CNN) was down due to a "political entity in China." Blogger Christine Lu has screenshots of the message and the defaced Sports Network page (scroll down). The group HackCNN has claimed responsibility for The Sports Network attack.

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    As CNET's resident security expert, Robert Vamosi has been interviewed on the BBC, CNN, MSNBC, and other outlets to share his knowledge about the latest online threats and to offer advice on personal and corporate security. Listen to his podcast at securitybites.cnet.com or e-mail Robert with your questions and comments.

     

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