Popular coding site hit with cyberattack

Major coding site GitHub is being bombarded with a cyberattack that is flooding the site with massive amounts of traffic.

The digital programming tool said on Twitter it has been under “continuous” attack for over 24 hours.

“The attack is evolving, and we're all hands on deck mitigating,” GitHub tweeted.

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Such a spike in traffic is called a distributed denial of service (DDOS) attack. It attempts to overwhelm websites and force them offline.

Suspicion immediately turned toward the Chinese government after a security researcher noticed China’s largest search engine, Baidu, was being used to direct massive amounts of traffic toward GitHub.

GitHub is frequently used to host “mirror” sites that duplicate Web pages blacked out in China. This allows Chinese citizens to circumvent what is known as the “Great Firewall.”

Many coding experts noticed the attack traffic was being directed at two specific GitHub pages — one hosting Chinese censorship watchdog GreatFire, another hosting a New York Times Chinese translation mirror site.

"I have no proof it's the Chinese government," Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer for security firm F-Secure, told Motherboard. "But who else would have the motive? Who else would have the capability to hijack traffic like this?"

GreatFire’s regular homepage, GreatFire.org, was also recently hit with a similar massive cyberattack. It’s believed China directed the digital assault.

The nonprofit has previously accused China of backing hacks of top tech firms, including Apple and Microsoft. The Chinese government in January dismissed the organization as an “anti-China website set up by an overseas anti-China organization.”