An Australian telecommunications provider revealed today that it suffered a distributed denial of service attack (DDoS) that deprived many customers of Internet and email access and which it claims originated in China.
Optus, Australia’s second largest telco, said that the attack was targeted at one specific customer, a financial services organisation that it has not named.
The company resolved the issue by redirecting Internet traffic away from its principal network cable, which links Australia to the US via China.
The attack is just the latest to be attributed to hackers located in China, the most high profile of which being an attack on Google earlier this year that prompted the web giant to cease censorship of its search results in the country. Many suspect government involvement in cyber attacks originating in China, but authorities strenuously deny this claim.
A report published by Canadian security researchers in 2009 – which revealed that the Dalai Lama’s PC had been hacked from within China – warned that “attributing all Chinese malware to deliberate or targeted intelligence gathering operations by the Chinese state is wrong and misleading”. However, a follow up report published this month hypothesised that political organisations may adopt techniques commonly used by cyber criminals in order to create “a climate of uncertainty”.
Others have pointed out that it is technically possible to make it appear as though a DDoS attack originated in China by hacking Internet service providers in the country.