China Blamed for Massive Cyber Attack on Telegram
Telegram CEO Pavel Durov has pointed the finger at China for the DDoS attack.
Encrypted messaging app Telegram says it was hit by a massive cyber attack during protests in Hong Kong against a proposed extradition law that would allow people to be sent to the mainland to stand trial.
The app, which has 200 million users, is a tool used by activists in both Hong Kong and mainland China to organise and co-ordinate protests. Banned by the Chinese Government, the app is a useful tool to help protesters ensure smooth delivery of supplies such as masks, head gear, cling film and water.
Pavel Durov, founder and CEO of the app, tweeted that Telegram had experienced a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack on Wednesday the 12th of June that came from mostly Chinese IP addresses.
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Instead of trying to steal data, a DDoS attack aims to take a website or service offline by flooding it with traffic so that other people cannot access it.
Telegram explained that, to generate that traffic, “bad guys use botnets made up of unsuspecting users’ computers, which were infected with malware at some point in the past. This makes a DDoS similar to the zombie apocalypse”.
Telegram has assured its users that their data had not been compromised by the attack. Durov’s comments followed after Hong Kong police arrested a man, who they confirmed was the administrator of a Telegram group with more than 20,000 users.
The group was reportedly used as a means to organise protests and share information on how to deal with police using tear gas and pepper spray.
Banned in Iran and Russia, apps like Telegram are increasingly being used as a form of secure communication for underground protest groups.
Telegram, in particular, is ideal for those wishing to reach a large audience because it allows people to create groups of up to 200,000 users. It also includes the ability to broadcast to an unlimited audience and for users to send encrypted messages, documents, videos and pictures without charge.