Telegram suffered a huge cyber attack during the Hong Kong protests, and it's blaming China

Hong Kong protestors

  • Telegram announced on Wednesday it was experiencing connection problems as the result of a huge cyber attack on its servers.
  • The DDoS attack overloaded the servers with phoney requests, disrupting connection to the internet.
  • Telegram founder Pavel Durov tweeted that most of the attacking IPs were based in China. He said “state actor-sized” attacks coincide with protests in Hong Kong.
  • Hong Kong is currently the site of mass demonstrations over the introduction of a new extradition bill which would allow citizens to be brought to mainland China for trial.
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Encrypted messaging service Telegram was overloaded by a “powerful” DDoS attack on Wednesday, which its founder said had its roots in China.

A DDoS attack is when attackers take control of devices infected with malware to overload targeted servers with huge numbers of requests, disrupting the servers’ connection to the internet.

Telegram announced the attack on Twitter, and said users in the Americas and “some users from other countries” would experience connection problems. It later added that the situation had “stabilized.” Telegram has more than 200 million monthly active users.

Founder Pavel Durov added that the attack was “state actor-sized” and had primarily come from IPs based in China, He said it coincided with the protests in Hong Kong.

The current mass protests in Hong Kong are in response to a proposed extradition bill that would allow Hong Kong citizens to be extradited to mainland China for trial. Critics of the bill say it diminishes Hong Kong’s semi-autonomous status, and that it could lead to citizens being tried unfairly, as the mainland has weaker legal protections.

Read more: Hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets in Hong Kong to express their outrage against a bill that would allow residents to be tried in China

Bloomberg reported Thursday that Telegram was trending in the Hong Kong Apple App Store alongside peer-to-peer messaging app Firechat. The administrator of a Telegram group with 30,000 members was arrested on Tuesday for “conspiracy to commit public nuisance,” the South China Morning Post reported.

Bloomberg further reported that protestors have been wearing masks to avoid detection by facial recognition, and avoiding public transit cards traceable to their identities.

SEE ALSO: Apple and WhatsApp are trying to fight off plans from British spies to ‘ghost’ their way into your encrypted messages

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