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DNS poisoning slams web traffic from millions in China into the wrong hole

ISP blames unspecified attack for morning outage

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A widespread DNS outage hit China on Tuesday‪, leaving millions of surfers adrift.‬

DNS issues in China between 7am and 9am GMT left millions of domains inaccessible. Two-thirds of China’s DNS (Domain Name System) infrastructure was blighted by the incident, which stemmed from a cache poisoning attack.

Chinese netizens were left unable to visit websites or use social media and instant messaging services as a result of the screw-up, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reports.

The snafu, which affected China's root servers, meant all queries resolve to the IP address 65.49.2.178. A fix was implemented around two hours after the snag first surfaced.

All China’s generic top-level domain names were affected. Services provided by local internet giants such as search engine Baidu and social-media portal Sina.com were rendered unavailable to locals unless they accessed them through virtual private network (VPN) technology.

DNS servers provide a lookup function that converts domain names, such “www.baidu.com,” into a numerical IP address understood by routers and servers.

The cause of the problem, which might take up to 12 hours to be fully resolved, was not immediately clear, with an attack by hackers being at least one of the possible reasons.

DNSPod, a DNS provider that describes itself as the largest in the country, handling three million domains, put out an update on Twitter blaming an attack without going into details.

More coverage of the incident can be found in a story by the Wall Street Journal here. ®

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