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The nation of China experienced a major internet outage recently, causing "_millions of internet users_" to be dropped "_offline for hours_, "according to articles published by both the Web Hosting Industry Review and Network World. The reports indicated – at approximately 3 pm – an undisclosed amount of "_domestic service providers_" were not able to connect with "_China's Domain Name System servers._."
The articles also reported that these outages were caused by "an error with the nation's generic top-level domains (.COM, .INFO, .NET and .ORG) which redirected users to IP address 22.214.171.124_" which is an address owned by Sophidea, a web hosting company based in California. According to the WHIR article, this hosting company is reported not to be in business and "_has apparently hosted sites blocked in China such as news site The Epoch Times, and a site that provides software to bypass online censorship."
The Network World article stated that some in China speculate that this event could have been caused by "a hacking attack_" originating in the United States. The article adds that this may have been caused by the Chinese government after their attempts to "_block the IP address, only to accidentally redirect the nation's top-level domains to forward traffic to the IP." Wu Hongsheng, founder of Chinese DNS host DNSPod, was mentioned in the WHIR article to say that "the reasons behind the malfunction are currently unclear_" and was quoted to say that this event was something "_very unusual and serious."
Read more in both the WHIR and Network World articles about how this serious event affected millions of individuals and an entire country, leaving many to wonder how this happened so quickly and easily.
Written by Bryon Turcotte / January 22, 2014