Chinese hackers call off CNN attack

Keeping the flame alive

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Chinese hackers have postponed a planned attack on CNN.com.

The assault was planned as a response to criticism of China in the Western media that has accompanied the Olympic Torch procession. Chinese policy in Tibet, as well as the nation's poor human rights record, has come under the spotlight as Western activists have succeeded in quenching the Olympic torch on its route around the globe.

Attacks by a Chinese hacker group "Revenge of Flame" against CNN planned for Saturday were called off, ostensibly because the element of surprise had been lost.

Chinese hacktivists may have decided to write malware rather than launch DDoS attacks, judging by the appearance of malware strains on pro-Tibet websites last week.

A few stray hackers are still having a go, however, security watchers report.

"So far there have been a few attacks seen by ATLAS (a few SYN and ICMP floods), but nothing too big. All of the attacks have been under 100 Mbps as we can see, well under the mean attack size we typically see," said Jose Nazario, senior security engineer at DDoS mitigation firm Arbor Networks.

CNN said attack mitigation steps it took last week may make the site slow to load in parts of Asia.

A spokesman said CNN noticed attack traffic from about midday on Thursday. Neither this assault, nor CNN's countermeasures, have resulted in fewer surfers visiting the site, he added.

The site has remained up and running despite the attacks. ®

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