You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

China Extends Media Blocking as Hong Kong Protests Swell

China has stepped up its operations to block conventional and social media coverage of the ongoing civil protest activities in Hong Kong.

According to some sources, the disruption now includes sophisticated cyber-warfare tactics designed to attack the smart phones of protesters.

Access from within China to the portal pages of the Hong Kong and Taiwan versions of Yahoo has been blocked. So too has access to some pages of English-language Hong Kong newspaper The South China Morning Post.

Earlier in the week, the SCMP removed its paywall from its online coverage of the protests. As a result it enjoyed record levels of traffic, but suffered repeated periods of unavailability.

Leading Chinese language social media service Weibo has seen a record number of postings removed by government censors – over 150 takedowns per 10,000 posts – according to monitoring service Greatfire.org.

Search terms that have been largely blocked online in China include ‘Hong Kong,’ ‘Occupy Central’ and ‘umbrella.’ The protests in Hong Kong have quickly been dubbed the ‘umbrella revolution’ as protesters have used umbrellas to fend off fierce sunshine, heavy rain and pepper spray used by police in attempts to disperse the gatherings. A number of SCMP reporters have also had their Weibo accounts closed.

The new disruptions are in addition to China’s blockage of access to Instagram which began on Sunday.

The pro-democracy street protests, which combine the politically-led Occupy Central activities, as well as separate, student-led anti-government actions, began in earnest during the weekend. Despite torrential overnight rain, they expanded further on Wednesday, a public holiday to celebrate China’s 65th anniversary.

The blockage of Yahoo is unusual and sophisticated, as it appears to use a form of disruption known as a “man in the middle” attack. Normally, connections with Yahoo are encrypted. But the man in the middle tactic involves putting an attacking server in between users and the target company’s servers. That makes the connections unencrypted and liable either to snooping or to blocking of specific pages. Yahoo email services appear to operate normally in China, but its photo sharing service Flickr is blocked.

Tech website Mashable and anonymous spokesmen from Greatfire say that such a powerful form of attack can only be organized at government level.

Mobile security company Lacoon, has also detected rare cross-platform malware attacks that act on Android and Apple smart phones. The malware, named Xsser mRAT comes in the form of an application that appears to help protesters organize and coordinate their activities. It was sent to Occupy Central protesters on Thursday as an anonymous message sent to Whatsapp users, Lacoon reported in a blog posting

“The fact that this attack is being used against protesters and is being executed by Chinese-speaking attackers suggests it’s linked to Chinese government cyber activity,” Lacoon said.

More Biz

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

  • Colin Kaepernick Kneel

    Colin Kaepernick, Eric Reid Reach Settlement With NFL

    Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid, two football players who alleged the National Football League colluded to oust them from the game after they started kneeling in protest of racial inequality during the playing of the national anthem, have reached a settlement in the matter, according to a statement from the sports organization and lawyers representing [...]

  • R. Kelly

    R. Kelly Could Be in ‘Big Trouble’ Over Alleged New Sex Tape, Attorney Says

    Strong allegations of sexual misconduct have followed R. Kelly for 25 years, but the singer has always managed to slip free. Yet reports that a videotape of him sexually assaulting an underage girl, combined with the outcry surrounding the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly,” means that public sentiment, at the very least, is definitely not [...]

  • Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in

    New Media Residuals and Feature Films Contribute to Spike in Writers' Pay

    The outlook for members of the Writers Guild of America has brightened — even amid pervasive uncertainty in the entertainment industry. According to the most recent report to WGA West members, earnings surged 2.8% to $1.41 billion in 2017, thanks mostly to gains in feature films and new-media residuals. Total covered earnings for WGA West [...]

  • Joe Dante Gremlins

    Hollywood Execs Seek Licensing Deals at the New York Toy Fair

    On Feb. 16 more than 30,000 studio executives, buyers and toy company reps will gather in Manhattan for the annual Toy Fair New York, all vying for market share and trying to snag the latest hot trend in a fast-changing industry. Those working the film side of the business will focus much of their attention [...]

  • Lady Gaga Bradley Cooper A Star

    Universal Music Group Fuels 11.3% Rise in Vivendi's 2018 Revenues

    Vivendi’s revenues were up 11.3% to €13.93 billion ($15.7 billion) in 2018, powered by Universal Music Group, which delivered such hits as the “A Star Is Born” soundtrack and Drake’s new album. UMG’s revenues climbed by 10% to €6 billion ($6.8 billion) compared to 2017. On top of the “A Star Is Born” soundtrack, the [...]

  • The Blacklist 100th Episode

    'The Blacklist' EP Sues for Wrongful Termination

    A former executive producer of the NBC show “The Blacklist” has filed suit against Sony, alleging he was fired after being wrongfully blamed for a workplace scuffle. Michael Watkins is a veteran TV director and cinematographer. He was an executive producer for several seasons of “The Blacklist,” the NBC crime show starring James Spader. According [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content