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Chinese Hackers Pissed Off

Source: South China Morning Post Publication date: 2001-02-21

(The Digest) - Hackers attacked 30 Web sites in China yesterday, a day after full Internet services were restored following a break in an undersea cable. Showing their frustration with a 10-day disruption to services, hackers broke into the sites and left the message: "This is just a warning to the telecom departments for your slow restoration of the cable."

The hackers signed the same name and left the same message on all 30 sites, including those belonging to ISP Beijing Telecom. They also blocked further access to the sites.

Xinhua yesterday said the cable had been repaired on Monday afternoon and full Internet access had been restored.

The Japanese ship, KDD Ocean Link, arrived at the site of the break in the Pacific cable on Friday after a day's sailing from Shanghai. Technicians replaced the damaged part at the surface. Workers at landing stations in Shanghai and Oregon in the United States tested the cable by X-ray.

Mainland Internet access was normal yesterday morning, showing no obvious slowness in the connection speed.

Over the next few days, the cable will be buried 1.1 metres under the seabed - its required depth. The work is to be finished tomorrow, a day earlier than anticipated, said Shanghai Telecom senior engineer Liu Shaokuan.

The cable is the main telecommunications link connecting Asia and the United States and carries most mainland Internet traffic to other countries. The February 9 cable break blocked access to overseas Web sites and slowed network speed in the Asia-Pacific region.

During the disruption, China Telecom rented international satellites and used other channels to redirect Net traffic. One third of the traffic was restored, but most North American Web sites remained inaccessible.

Despite the recovery, the 10-day break was enough to prompt hackers in China to vent their anger at Beijing Telecom.

Beijing Telecom is a subsidiary of China Telecom, China's largest Internet service provider and the main operator of the severed cable. Millions of users lost connections to instant messages, overseas Web sites and free e-mail boxes based outside China after the cable was severed.

According to a report from, a joint venture site by People's Daily and News Corp, the hackers attacked 30 Web sites, including that of Beijing Mobile Communication Co Ltd, a subsidiary of China Mobile. So far 10 sites have been restored.

Last week China Telecom said it would refuse to compensate users for Internet connection losses, saying the service was cut by a force majeure. State-run media quoted a Shanghai Telecom official saying his company was responsible only for cable maintenance and it would not compensate users.

-- Martin Thompson (, February 22, 2001

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