Github – a popular coding website used by programmers to collaborate on software development – was hit by a large-scale distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack for more than 24 hours late Thursday night.
The code instructs browsers of visitors to those websites to rapidly connect to GitHub.com every two seconds in a way that visitors couldn't smell, creating "an extremely large amount of traffic," according to a researcher who goes by the name A nthr@x.
"In other words, even people outside China are being weaponized to target things the Chinese government does not like, for example, freedom of speech."
The attack specifically targets two popular Github projects – GreatFire and CN-NYTimes – anti-censorship tools used to help Chinese citizens circumvent The Great Firewall Of China, the government's censorship of Internet access in China.
GreatFire – A well-known group on Github that fights against Chinese government censorship of the Internet.
CN-NYTimes – A group that hosts New York Times mirrors to allow Chinese citizens to access the news website, which is normally blocked in China.
Since Baidu search engine is extremely popular, the attack results in the massive flood of traffic on the Github website which begun around 2 AM UTC on Friday and last for more than 24 hours.
GitHub said yesterday that the flood of traffic, a continuous string of distributed denial-of-service attacks, caused irregular outages and that their admins have been working to mitigate the attack with periodic success.