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Web site of China-based journalist club attacked

Thu, 04/01/2010 - 9:30pm
The Associated Press

An organization for foreign journalists based in China has become the latest victim of cyberattacks targeting the Web sites or e-mail accounts of human rights groups and reporters focused on China.

Cyberattacks linked to China have gained more attention since Google Inc. accused Chinese hackers in January of trying to plunder its software coding and of hijacking the Gmail accounts of human rights activists protesting Beijing's policies.

The Foreign Correspondents' Club of China said in an e-mailed statement Friday that its Web site was taken down because of denial-of-service attacks apparently launched over the last two days by computers within China and in the United States.

"We do not know who is behind these attacks or what their motivation is," the statement said.

Denial-of-service attacks involve a flood of computers all trying to connect to a single site at the same time, overwhelming the server that handles the traffic.

Yahoo e-mail accounts belonging to foreign journalists in China have also apparently been hacked in recent weeks, and the Web site of the Hong Kong-based China Human Rights Defenders remained shut down Friday after a denial-of-service attack hit it last week.

Google says the attacks it suffered convinced it to move its China search service offshore to the freer Chinese territory of Hong Kong last week. Google also said it was unwilling to continue self-censoring its search results in line with Chinese regulations.

Service interruptions hit Google's new offshore Chinese search service for several hours Tuesday, rendering it unusable for Web users in China. Google blamed the problem on China's elaborate Web filtering system, nicknamed the Great Firewall. Service returned to normal after a few hours.

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