Popular coding website GitHub was the target of a huge distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack that started late last week and ran through the better part of the weekend.
Security researchers told The Wall Street Journal that the traffic was originally meant for Baidu, China’s most popular search engine. A GitHub blog post from Friday corroborates that theory, noting that the DDoS attack involved a wide range of attack vectors including every one they’ve seen from previous attacks as well as newer techniques.
The newer methods appear to be redirecting web traffic meant for Baidu and sending it to two specific GitHub pages: a copy of a Chinese version of The New York Times and one run by greatfire.org, a site that helps Chinese web users get around government-based Internet censorship.
GitHub said they believe the intent of the attack is to convince them to remove a specific class of content and that this is the largest attack in the site’s history.
The DDoS attack has evolved and we are working to mitigate
— GitHub Status (@githubstatus) March 30, 2015
As of writing, the Twitter account for the site’s health notes that mitigation tactics are deflecting most attack traffic.
The Cyperspace Administration of China didn’t respond to a request for comment by the WSJ on Sunday. Baidu said that after careful inspection by its security engineers, they ruled out the possibility of security problems or hacker attacks of their products. Security experts that the WSJ spoke to said the attack likely involved Chinese authorities because traffic was redirected at a high level.