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China Censorship Security

Anonymous Claims To Have Defaced Hundreds of Chinese Government Sites 72

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the fast-track-to-execution dept.
Hkibtimes writes, quoting the International Business Times: "The Anonymous hacking collective has landed in China, home of some of the most tightly controlled Internet access in the world, and defaced hundreds of government websites in what appears to be a massive online operation against Beijing. Anonymous listed its intended institutional targets on Pastebin and has now attacked them."
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Anonymous Claims To Have Defaced Hundreds of Chinese Government Sites

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @11:42AM (#39572989)

    Visiting them I get a bunch of square blocks and some funny looking drawings.

  • I doubt the Government would put any secret info on a website.
    • Re:No big deal (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @11:53AM (#39573131)

      It does upset the "benevolent dictatorship" propaganda the Chinese government has been putting about though, not for nothing did they start promising new freedoms immediately when they heard about the events of the Arab spring. It also occurs to me that the Anonymous group is a perfect cover for intelligence agencies to run wild on the internet.

      • Re:No big deal (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Xest (935314) on Thursday April 05, 2012 @05:35AM (#39582761)

        To be fair, you have to look at why the Chinese governments acts the way it does nowadays.

        Many of those who comprise China's top leadership do actually support greater freedoms nowadays, but they're a bit more pragmatic than many would like them to be.

        The fundamental problem with China is that you have a population of 1.3 billion with gross income disparity, countless opposing religious and cultural backgrounds and differing levels of attachment to the Chinese leadership.

        There's this rather naive view in the west that if China just dropped it filters, and allowed free elections, a completely free press and so forth tommorrow that suddenly everything would be okay and China would become a vast bastion of freedom and democracy with modern standards of living that envy rich western nations. In reality though it's not that simple.

        The problem is that if China stops controlling information and limiting the freedoms of dissidents then there would indeed be an arab spring like event, but we're not talking about Libya here with it's mere 6 million people, we're again talking about a place with 1.3 billion people. If the government loses it's stranglehold you suddenly have uighur rebellions, you have tibetan rebellions, you have the poor rising up against those who have done well from China's economic growth, you have the Taiwanese separating, Hong-Kong separating, and you have those loyal to the government fighting back against all of them. You lose what little remaining control there is of a nuclear armed North Korea, and Russia, Japan, and all of the other neighbours are given a chance to seize territory which they dispute with China. In other words you have massive regional chaos that has the potential to spill over globally.

        If you actually go and visit China, those areas that have really benefited from the boom aren't actually terribly different to many western cities. Effectively the restrictions in China are aimed and prevalent mostly in areas that are poorer and particularly want to split away. You can argue that splitting away is a fair goal, and I'd agree, but if you let say, Tibet go, then other parts are bound to be emboldened by this and follow, and again you're in a position where there's a massive risk of destabilisation through separation running away with itself.

        It's pretty clear that whilst the Chinese government wants to change things that to do so over night would almost certainly be much more problematic for the region and possibly the world as a whole. The Chinese government's tactic seems to be to try and spread the benefits of growth as wide and fast as they reasonably can because when a population has nice things it's far less likely to be interested in violent disruption.

        China is changing, but it needs to be left to do so at it's own pace, they didn't just start promising freedoms as a result of the arab spring they were doing it before that.

        The fundamental challenge China has is in providing freedoms to those Chinese now rich and educated enough to demand and fight for them, against offering too many freedoms such that those who are poor and angry cannot use them as an opportunity to try and gain their freedom violently in a manner that would cause massive scale civil war. I don't envy this pretty high stakes balancing act the Chinese government is being forced to undergo, so whilst it may appear shitty for many Chinese compared to our standards in the West I do actually think modern Chinese leadership is genuinely trying to make the best of a pretty poor situation that they've inherited.

        It's worth Googling and reading about some of China's current, and future leaders (they're having a leadership change soon). Many of them are actually quite genuine about reform and do have that as the centrepiece of their policy.

        • That was a well-articulated, insightful, and enlightening post. Now I understand why they took China out of the Red Dawn remake.
    • Re:No big deal (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tlhIngan (30335) <[ten.frow] [ta] [todhsals]> on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @12:00PM (#39573201)

      I doubt the Government would put any secret info on a website.

      No, but imagine putting up "banned information" on those websites - the great firewall doesn't work when the information is posted online on the allowed website. And it's not something they can block, because they'd be blocking a legitimate website. (What's the government going to do - take down their own web site?).

      Post said information on several other sites like the government-controlled media sites and you'd get pretty wide coverage...

    • I doubt the Government would put any secret info on a website.

      Given what the U.S. government has been doing lately about publicly exposing "secret" information, including granting web access to core intelligence servers, I would definitely mod you as Funny. That is, I would if I had mod points.

  • - to the US, sort of a belated apology for hacking the FBI.

    Naw, they probably did it for the lulz.
  • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @11:47AM (#39573077) Homepage

    I have also "defaced" many sites on my own. I very recently defaced Slashdot itself, with a silly message mocking a group of hacktivists for contributing approximately nothing to the world but headlines.

    My message is subtle enough that it will likely remain on the site for the remainder of its existence. Anonymous can't say the same for their messages.

    • by Bevilr (1258638)
      Except that by generating headlines, the repositories of those headlines (like /. here) will store the articles concerning those events. The only way their message (albeit not a very productive one in my opinion) will disappear forever will be if the articles covering it do too, and when that happens you can bet your comment on it will disappear as well.
  • The first one on the pastebin list definitely looks defaced. I tried random ones down the list, can't find any others that are hacked.

    • Pretty interesting: Aside from a free mp3 hosted on a private site it comes with a tutorial for safe browsing recommending (HTTPSEverywhere, Tor) http://www.qnwqdj.gov.cn/tuto.htm [qnwqdj.gov.cn] .

      Would be more effective if it was written in Chinese I guess.
      And if they had actually hacked more than one site.
      And if the protest came from inside China rather than outside.

      Looks to me like a single, rather unsuccessful script kiddie with political interests rather than the "Anonymous hacking collective".

  • Blew it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DigiShaman (671371) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @12:02PM (#39573223) Homepage

    They blew an opportunity to enlighten the people of China about freedom, democracy, and how the current government can foster this change through internal reforms without a confrontational tone. The process is more slow, and there's already progress being made with each change of leadership. I'm afraid all this will do is cause a reactionary clamp-down on even more freedoms.

    Or to put it anther way. These people do not have guns! They cannot fight a revolution. It's folly to think they can. In fact if I recall, the PLA station soldiers far away from where the live. This way it makes it much easier to follow order and shoot their own civilians without hesitation.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The Chinese people are plenty enlightened... The reason the communist party there has lasted so long despite having jumped the shark a long time ago is that they give the people what they want. Give economic freedom and most Chinese won't complain about the government. You want to see change? Find a way to cause the Chinese economy to implode. But that won't be very good for the rest of the world, so no sane government would try to cause that to happen.

      Anyway as a few have noted, this will not be viewed the

  • I'm curious if there's any Chinese (either from mainland using Tor or whatever), or those who have left, that can comment accurately on the citizens status with the government. As in, if they don't like their government, or if they are okay with it.
    • by TheSync (5291) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @12:30PM (#39573665) Journal

      As in, if they don't like their government, or if they are okay with it.

      I suspect Chinese feel their government is much better now that it isn't starving tens of millions of people to death [wikipedia.org] or commiting widespread violent political persecution [wikipedia.org] especially given that over 100 million Chinese have been brought out of absolute poverty [chinadaily.com.cn].

      But at some point, these relative enhancements in government performance may no longer seem enough.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      This is an old anecdote from the early 1980s so I don't know what it's like now, but I worked at Disney World then and had free reign over pretty much the whole place.

      I was "backstage" as they call it, behind the China pavillion at Epcot and struck up a conversation with a fellow who had just arrived from China. He was excited about our country and its great leader, so I set him straight about that doddering old fool Reagan. The poor fellow got nervous, looking around as if the FBI was going to jump out and

    • I've left, know plenty that have left, and know plenty that are still there. Obviously take my comments with a grain of salt, since it's anecdotal.

      The majority of people I met/know don't even talk about censorship or lack of rights. However, that's not indicative of fear, but rather of the fact it's just not something most people talk about in the first place. I have met guys that left China for the very purpose of escaping the regime to go to a place with more human rights; they're the Slashdot crowd-typ
  • Chinese Government Claims To Have Defaced Hundreds of Anonymous Sites
  • ...before or after they 'shut down the internet' last weekend?

    m
  • Will any admins or the people who run those sites now be punished by the CN gov to show them as an example to others to keep security tight?

  • by Errtu76 (776778) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @12:24PM (#39573589) Journal

    So they 'hacked' a DNS service and then claim to have defaced hundreds, if not thousands of websites. Big deal. Come back when you effectively disabled the Great Firewall.

    • by tist (1086039)
      Actually... I assume the "defacing" is quite clear in Chinese. A look at a dozen or so sites doesn't look like any huge defacing has been done. Images seem intact, English text sill clear enough.... Hard to verify.
    • I think Anonymous mostly use scripts for finding and exploiting SQL injection vulnerabilities - you know, on websites that take user input without scrubbing it properly for SQL commands and escapes. Very basic stuff really. While Anonymous like to think they are l33t the real problem is that so many websites just have astonishingly terrible security. Now I'm sure some Anonymous members have more capabilities than this, but certainly not all of them.
  • The Chinese characters on the site mean "A friend in need is a friend indeed"
    The song playing (for those who don't know) is Teenage Wasteland by the Who.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      You mean Baba O'Riley by the Who.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      The song's title isn't Teenage wasteland, it's Baba O'Riley, [wikipedia.org] although most people think Teenage Wasteland is the title.

  • Anonymous look the imperialist assholes with this totally counterproductive stunt. They need to see how offensive they have been in their misguided "quest." to "free" the Chinese people. I'm so embarrassed this has been done.
    • Anonymous look the imperialist assholes with this totally counterproductive stunt. They need to see how offensive they have been in their misguided "quest." to "free" the Chinese people. I'm so embarrassed this has been done.

      Setting aside whether this was a great idea or not... I'm not entirely sure what the hell you're trying to say. Are you saying the Chinese are already free and therefore don't need to be "freed"? While I admittedly didn't bring up the "hacked" pages, what was so offensive about it?

      • by aschoeff (864154)
        When you think you're doing something for somebody's own good without consulting them, you can essentially be seen as doing it in their name and/or infantilizing them. Not only did this potentially cause danger to many of China's citizens, as your motto says, but they likely didn't appreciate it in form at all. You don't see reports of similar incidents on the mainland done by nationals. Just totally counterproductive and it embarrassed me.
        • When you think you're doing something for somebody's own good without consulting them, you can essentially be seen as doing it in their name and/or infantilizing them. Not only did this potentially cause danger to many of China's citizens, as your motto says, but they likely didn't appreciate it in form at all. You don't see reports of similar incidents on the mainland done by nationals. Just totally counterproductive and it embarrassed me.

          I see what you're saying and in general agree with the idea that such actions could be taken to infantilize those who are ostensibly being helped. I also agree that such actions on the part of Anonymous are rarely productive and at best fall in the category of "look at me!". That said, how would this cause danger to China's citizens? Unless you're referring to the possibility of a general reaction on the part of the government?

  • Just consider how you would react if a group of Chinese "hacktavists" defaced a bunch of local sites in order to bring our attention to the issues in our system. What a wonderful benefit that would be right?

    Wrong

    This is doing exactly zero good as far as I can see, and probably is doing some damage to the very cause they appear to be championing.

    • Naw, this system has some pretty terrible issues, and if some random Chinese people could see them despite what's wrong with their system, I'd consider that pretty damning.
      • by Chakra5 (1417951)

        As I hope would I, but are you honestly saying that most people would as well? or would they take offense at being lectured too?

        As much as we all want to believe we'd be ever so enlightened in viewing such an event with an honest introspection, it's human nature to take offense when someone outside the tribe bitchslaps you.

  • How do you say "pool's closed" in Mandarin?
  • Unfortunately, the Chinese government will most likely crack down even harder on people, especially those that followed the link for more information. So while Anonymous got more 'hacktivism' published, the people they did this for will be the ones punished.
  • Blame the US (Score:3, Insightful)

    by deciduousness (755695) on Wednesday April 04, 2012 @02:13PM (#39575231)
    Seems like China would just blame the US government... the same way that if we see any attacks from China, we blame the Chinese government.
  • by Nyder (754090)

    Slashdot has slashdotted 1000's of web sites, anonymous needs to get cracking.

  • The 'government' of the state of Arizona seems just as deserving. Used the think of the Grand Canyon and Garry Shandling when Arizona came up, but ever since the MLK holiday debacle, it feels like the entire state is dedicated to a faithful re-enactment of the Jim Crow south.
  • Now that's what I call losing face!

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