As The Wall Street Journal reported,
no one is quite sure where the attacks came from, but the timing is
certainly interesting from a number of standpoints. Furthermore, some
reports are saying that the attack was so simple that it could have
involved hundreds of hackers or a single individual with a really big

Regardless of whether it was angry “internet freedom” hackers or
domestic showboaters, people will be keen to find out who took down the
Middle Kingdom’s Internet during the controversial Bo Xilai trial.

The damage was relatively minimal, with a number of .cn sites down.
By very early Monday morning, China’s Internet authorities had begun
restoring the websites that were taken down in the attacks.

DDoS attacks usually inundate servers with high levels of activity
from many computers–not necessarily many users. A botnet(s) enables
hackers to send many requests at once, which, as CloudFare’s Chief
Executive of Matthew Prince points out to The Wall Street Journal, could be the result of one very determined hacker.

In the midst of the Bo Xilai trial, the government is hoping to
control the online chatter while Chinese netizens are seeking to be
heard. Meanwhile, hackers around the world have protested China’s recent
crackdown on online dissent. As such, trying to pinpoint the origin of
this unclaimed DDoS hack is a mind-boggling affair.

The China Internet Network Information Center (CNNIC), located in Beijing’s Zhongguancun, announced the attack, adding that the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology launched the
“Domain Name System Security Specific Contingency Plan.” The attack,
which resulted in a 32 percent drop in traffic, raised a number of
eyebrows. The CNNIC has said it will update the public on who is
responsible for the incident soon.

China has had the internet and media on lockdown for quite some time
over the trial of its wayward party official. Search terms for Bo Xilai
are heavily blocked on the country’s Twitter-like microblogging
platform, Weibo, and media have been led by the nose to what language they can use to report on Bo and the trial.

Indeed, no one in the equation lacks motive. CNN quoted one netizen as saying, “Saw this news and laughed. On every ‘festive occasion’ doesn’t China’s Internet become paralyzed?”

China and the U.S. have been sparring over cyberattacks all year, a
conversation that became decidedly one-sided once Edward Snowden took
the focus off of China’s considerable hacking operations against The New York Times and other
American companies. Over the summer, China has found the courage to
become very highhanded with online security rhetoric, a posturing that
is likely to continue if it finds a U.S. hand in this attack.