Anonymous wants to take down the Great Firewall of China

Anonymous wants to take down the Great Firewall of China

Summary: The countless attacks on Chinese websites were apparently just a warm up. Anonymous wants to take down the Internet censorship system known as the Great Firewall of China.

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Last week, I wrote about how the hacktivist group Anonymous has a new Chinese branch, Anonymous China, which has been very active since it launched its Twitter account on March 30, 2012. The group has hacked and defaced hundreds of Chinese government, company, and other general websites to the point where China even acknowledged the attacks. The hacking has continued against various websites, but even more importantly, the group has declared a new target: the so-called Great Firewall of China.

Since my last two reports, Anonymous China has hacked shangzhi.gov.cn, publicly posting eight user names and passwords on Pastebay. This was soon followed by the hacking of szzfcg.gov.cn, which resulted in the site's full database being leaked and posted to Wikisend. The document was hard to parse, but I could easily see that it included thousands of e-mail addresses, logins, and passwords.

Here are the corresponding tweets:

Our new IRC channel: http://cbe005.chat.mibbit.com/?server=irc.voxanon.net&channel=%23AnonymousChina channel: #AnonymousChina In a few minutes another hack ;) http://www.shangzhi.gov.cn/ hacked by Anonymous China. Leak: http://www.pastebay.net/380748 @YourAnonNews @YourAnonNews we already told the Chinese people to protest and do occupy. Now we have to wait http://www.shangzhi.gov.cn/ hacked by Anonymous China. Leak: http://www.pastebay.net/380748 its cold there :P http://www.szzfcg.gov.cn/ hacked by Anonymous China. All database! Leak: http://www.pastebay.net/395451

As I've already written before, the Anonymous China group has confirmed they are not Chinese and are not based in China. If they're going to succeed in their new mission, however, they're going to need help on the inside. It's thus not too surprising to see these two tweets:

Chinese hackers :) very well brothers ... we have expected you @YourAnonNews our brothers arrived :)

Below is a message from the one of the members, posted on Pastebay. The poor English makes me think that one of the Chinese hackers wrote this, as opposed to someone from the Anonymous China group, which has instead been writing terrible Chinese (they said they're working on it). Then again, it really can be anyone from Anonymous whose first language isn't English.

Hi, we won't speak in name of @AnonymousChina, this time, we are going to speak in name of every single Anonymous person. Anonymous is an idea and we aren't here for tell you that over and over again. In this moment, that you are reading this, we are going to tell you why "the haters" should like Anonymous. Of course, that would be more exciting and more inspiring if this message was a video in YouTube, with someone talking and pictures and a song that touch in your heart. So before we start, try to make yourself inspiring, play your song and let's start. Like we said, we are not going to talk about what is Anonymous, probably you already heard many times, and still, you think bad about us. First, about Anonymous hackers. We deface and leak government websites, we DoX politics, we try to share this particullary words:"Something is wrong in our world". So for that, i don't know why people still support their government, even knowing the truth, well deep inside. For those who hate that Anonymous go to protests, made a Free Hug day. What is your problem? Do you like that banks and the government still your money? Do you like to have no human rights? Do you like to be with no job? I think the answer is no!

So if you read this and still think the same, read again and with a song more touching. If now you are part of an idea, welcome my friend, we were expecting you.

We will always love everyone in the 99% if you are part of the 1%, because you are rich and don't care about people... We all hope you chnage your mind and help us.

There's the usual signature, with a little bit extra thrown in:

We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us.

And we will always being expecting you!

Last but certainly not least, here are the tweets regarding the Great Firewall of China mission:

To all people, reply this tweet saying all chinese websites you know that are blocked. Chinese government sweet dreams ;] Great Firewall - Power: 100% ... 90% .. 50% ... 20% ... Power off. #GFW will be dead soon. #Anonymous Chinese people, world people, ... reporters too, #GFW we all want it dead, wont be easy... Don't expect in next week, or whatever lol One day we are few, in the other we are some, the next day we are many... a few days after, we are China and all world against this system!

In the previous Anonymous China attacks, some targets have had their administrator accounts, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses posted publicly. On many of the hacked sites, the group even posted tips for how to circumvent the Great Firewall of China. Actually trying to take down the Great Firewall of China is a whole other ballgame.

The Great Firewall of China is a massive and complicated system that blocks all types of content that the Chinese government deems improper. It features firewalls and proxy servers at the Internet gateways, engages in selective DNS poisoning when particular sites are requested, and leverages various other methods to censor the Internet, including Connection resets, DNS filtering and redirection, IP blocking, Packet filtering, and URL filtering.

Frankly, I will be very surprised if Anonymous China succeeds. Then again, if they manage to pull off the feat for even a few minutes, it will be an accomplishment of epic proportions.

See also:

Topics: Software Development, Browser, Government, Government US, Networking, Security, China

Emil Protalinski

About Emil Protalinski

Emil is a freelance journalist writing for CNET and ZDNet. Over the years,
he has covered the tech industry for multiple publications, including Ars
Technica, Neowin, and TechSpot.

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Talkback

22 comments
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  • thoughts

    "Last week, I wrote about how the hacktivist group Anonymous "

    Terrorist. they don't deserve a name related to "activist." They're certainly not acting on the behalf of myself or the general public.

    And while perhaps the Great Firewall of China certainly needs to be taken down, the best way is really to talk to the Chinese government - because even if Anon takes it down, they'll just have it up again in less than a week.

    "What is your problem? Do you like that banks and the government still your money?
    Do you like to have no human rights? Do you like to be with no job?"

    Let's see - the bank has given me money in the form of interest, the government is needed to run our nation, Anon has killed more human rights than protected by taking down web sites we like and use, and oh yeah, I have a job, thanks.

    LOL.
    CobraA1
    • LOL STFU!

      Y U NO STFU? YOU KNOW NOTHING ABOUT THE INTERNET! CAPSLOCK IS CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL! WEBSITES DO NOT EQUAL HUMAN RIGHTS! NOONE CARES THAT YOU HAVE A JOB! GO BACK TO YOUR HUGBOX! STOP WATCHING FOX NEWS!
      CaptainLongcat
    • An0n

      I sense ignorance in this post...

      They stopped SOPA, ACTA, PIPA, and are advocating against CISPA.
      If it weren't for them, the revolutions in the middle east wouldn't be over.
      & if it weren't for them, the word "terrorist" would be completely FILTERED form the internet.

      Keep an open mind Mr. they're not terrorists.
      wild14u72
      • We stopped those, not Anonymous.

        "They stopped SOPA, ACTA, PIPA, and are advocating against CISPA. "

        They didn't. We did. The general public did. The outcry extended far beyond Anonymous. I don't remember them having much of any influence at all in that. I personally got the message from a commentator I usually listen to, not some message from Anonymous.

        "If it weren't for them, the revolutions in the middle east wouldn't be over."

        I need proof. I seriously doubt an online organization of any type really has that much influence. It's far more likely that politics and international pressure influenced events in the middle east far more than anything Anonymous did.

        I'm sorry, you're just giving them too much credit.

        "Keep an open mind Mr."

        To what? The fact that they take down more innocents than guilty parties when they take down websites? The fact that they are masters of tin hat conspiracy theories? How about you take a closer look at them yourself with an open mind?
        CobraA1
  • This is going to bring worse censorship

    In any case that they successfully bring down any part of the firewall, be sure that the new firewall that come up afters will be much higher.
    Conscious web surfers in China already know how to use web proxys, vpns to bypass their firewall.
    Don't make their lives more difficult by creating a larger obstacle by showing off your vanity.

    Let their government do their job, they will bring down the firewall in the near future I suppose.
    waijie666
    • LOL

      fat chance.
      CaptainLongcat
  • time for it to happen

    Time for the world to wake up and take the power back from the few and the corrupt. It can succeed, all that is required is numbers. Numbers and talent defeat anything. The few become the many, the talented can still shine, yet the many will prosper.
    Jimster480
    • Such idealism, and no realism (reality, for those of you still infants).

      Look, the numbers matter, but, when large numbers of people want to speak up and take action, they need organization, and therein lies the problem. With the organizers. Once a group organizes, the organizers become "the few and the corrupt", and then, what started as a good idea, becomes just another problem. Happens every time! (Ever hear of a famous community organizer by the name of "Barack Obama"?).
      adornoe
  • No you're wrong...

    This isn't going to bring worse censorship, that makes no sense as an argument.

    VPNs and proxies let you get around the wall but Anon want to take it all the way down. Why would the Chinese government make it harder to use proxies when the attack has nothing to do with proxies?
    At the very worst, they won't succeed and the Chinese government will make it even harder to succeed in the future. That's all. VPN usage will remain intact. And even if they succeed for a few minutes, the people in China will get another little taste of the freedom they got a few months ago, and they'll start to enjoy it, and when it gets taken away yet again, they're going to be slightly more angry than before...
    Naryan
    • Well they might decide to tighten their grip on the control.

      From what I know for my Chinese friends are doing, they are usually using some proxy software that are widely available and easy to be searched even using their search engine Baidu.

      Who knows if the government starting to retaliate and attempt to block all these software to be found or used. We all know that whenever the Chinese government are provoked or threathened, they retaliate more. Those who are knowledgeable already know how to get through it. Those who are unknowledgeable are unlikely to get much freedom due to the short time of firewall downtime.

      Let the Chinese do their job. They already have their own social media such as Sina Weibo etc although still controlled by the government. Still the government cannot completely impede any dissent that spread through it. There are already quite a lot of social issues that are brought to the attention of the people through these sources. If anon is successful, the government might actually terminate these channels.

      External influence cannot bring democracy to the Chinese. They will bring about it on themselves.
      waijie666
  • Just remember...

    ..many of the posts here will be from Chinese Intelligence Agents.
    Tony Burzio
    • Or, from American Intelligence Agents.

      n/t
      adornoe
    • Absolutely yes!!

      Check out this dude voltus.....its like he is personally threatened by Anon, for sure he is someones agent.....I am not a fan of rebellion, chaos or anarchy...but i would like Anon as an idea to stay if it takes stand against pedophiles, autocrats, dictatorial junta & bankers with uncontrolled greed..
      deepblue5479
  • China

    Be prepared... They will retaliate...
    rsn10100
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  • Hope China Goverment acknoledge their attack

    And China Gov hunt down all Anonymous, and shot them on the head.
    Internet terorist like this should be hang or shot on the head.
    Don't expect mercy or your human rights from China Gov.
    Voltus
  • An0n

    All of these comments are very close minded, in my opinion.

    Have you been in the chat IRC yourselves? No.
    On the other hand I have, and I can say that they are not "terrorists". There noble people that have no political orientation, but morals. Something that alot of people seem to not have. But thats my opinion. And before you go judging Anon. maybe you should go talk to one your self?

    The "great firewall", as they call it is a HUGE violation of the basic civil rights. FREE SPEECH in particular, something the Chinese haven't had in quite awhile. Something we Americans or western countries take for granted.... Its not about liberation entirely, but doing whats RIGHT. like helping that hot neighbor change a tire, or helping your struggling son or daughter with his/her homework after they've been at it for 8 hours. Its simply the right thing to do.

    And to confront the "their country, its there problem" sayer's, I say, there frighting for the same rights we did when our great country was still a British colony. WE rebelled. WE fought for our right for democracy. & we fought and SUCCEEDED in creating something better than what was.

    Good day/night, An0ns.
    Keep and open mind, and by that, i mean consider that the bible was re-written over 200 times. Question with confidence.

    And most importantly, be considerate :]
    & I love you all.

    Oh, and C| net created the file sharing software(remember lime wire?) thats making the private sector lobby for censoring our internet....Evil right?
    wild14u72
    • civil rights

      You can't violate the civil rights of someone who resides in a country that doesn't have them. Civil Rights are a Western Cultural invention and are not universal. You are naive beyond belief. I also reject your supposition that your or anonymous 'morals' are somehow superior to others. Life doesn't work that way. In my country, which negotiated it's freedom from the British Crown, the dealth penalty is both immoral and illegal. See I have more civil rights than you do. Who righter here, my country or yours? I'm not making a stand, just pointing out some facts.
      spin498
      • Really....??

        Civil Rights might be a western coined term...but its a universal aspiration of every human soul (irrespective of where you are from & what you believe)...i don't know a sane person, who would say "I am happy to life my life set by your rules"....
        deepblue5479
    • And we'll see you change your mind,

      When one of the sites they take down and post user names and passwords are yours, and then another lowlife takes that info and steals your personal information.

      But from the sound of your post, you probably won't even know how your identity got stolen in the first place.
      T-Wrench