Commentary, Law & Policy, Security

China's Great Cannon Raises Questions For China's Top Search Engine

The news in recent days of China's "Great Cannon" and a related research report from Canada has cast a spotlight from outside China on the machinations of China's government-run Internet services.

Dubbed "Great Cannon" in a research report from the University of Toronto's Citizenlab, the researchers say, "The Great Cannon is not simply an extension of the Great Firewall, but a distinct attack tool that hijacks traffic to (or presumably from) individual IP addresses, and can arbitrarily replace unencrypted content as a man-in-the-middle."

In particular, the Great Cannon report shows how a recent coordinated Distributed Denial of Service attack hijacked Baidu.com's web traffic to help shutdown services on foreign-run websites such as Github.com.

Citizenlab adds, "We believe there is compelling evidence that the Chinese government operates the GC. In recent public statements, China has deflected questions regarding whether they are behind the attack, instead emphasizing that China is often itself a victim of cyber attacks."

Baidu has not released any official statement either about their involvement with Great Cannon or how it impacts their financial bottom line, but other media outlets have quoted Baidu representatives as saying the Chinese search engine company has not been involved with any activity related with Great Cannon.

"The incorporation of Baidu in this attack suggests that the Chinese authorities are willing to pursue domestic stability and security aims at the expense of other goals, including fostering economic growth in the tech sector," says Citizenlab.


Image Credit: Citizenlab

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