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Eyes Turn to China As Internet Woes Continue

| 22 Apr 2011 17:01
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Amazon Web Services continues to struggle with technical issues that have left several prominent websites inaccessible and may have some connection to "cyber-attacks" originating from China against one of its clients.

Trouble erupted at several major websites on April 21 when an Amazon data center suffered a "glitch" that knocked out its web hosting service. Several prominent sites including Reddit, Foursquare, Quora and Hootsuite, all of which use Amazon Web Services, suffered outages as a result and are continuing to struggle with various difficulties today. A message currently up on Reddit states that the site is in "emergency mode" while Amazon tries to get things sorted out, although there is no ETA at this time.

The latest status update on the situation, posted at 11:49 am EDT, states, "We continue to see progress in recovering volumes, and have heard many additional customers confirm that they're recovering. Our current estimate is that the majority of volumes will be recovered over the next five to six hours. As we mentioned in our last post, a smaller number of volumes will require a more time consuming process to recover, and we anticipate that those will take longer to recover."

The official cause of the glitch has yet to be determined but on the same day the trouble started, "online activism platform" Change.org sent out an email claiming that for the previous three days it had been under siege by hackers in China who apparently took exception to its petition demanding the release of artist Ai Weiwei. Ai Weiwei, who helped designed the famous "Bird's Nest" stadium for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was arrested on April 3 for "economic crimes" and has not been heard from since.

"For the past three days, the Change.org website has been repeatedly targeted by cyber attacks coming from China that aim to bring our site down, which would keep people from signing the petition," the email says. "Our engineers are working around the clock to fend off the attacks and, for now, the petition is still up."

By the time the email got out, however, the petition was gone, replaced by a message warning that "Change.org is currently unavailable due to a problem at our hosting provider, Amazon Web Services," along with occasional server connection resets. Could China's determination to stifle dissent have brought the internet to its knees? Amazon has thus far refused to comment on the situation so any connection between the two events is purely speculative at this point, but it will be interesting to see what filters out as the situation resolves.

On the plus side, Amazon did confirm on its Web Services forum that the problem is not the result of a self-aware, rogue AI, writing, "From the information I have and to answer your questions, SkyNet did not have anything to do with the service event at this time."

Source: Fox News

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