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Hong Kong’s Forum Server under Attack, Chinese Authorities Suspected Using Telegram to ID Protesters

Many of Hong Kong’s “anti-extradition law” protesters use a Hong Kong based online discussion forum, LIHKG, to mobilize and organize their actions. LIHKG announced around 6 am on Sunday that the “LIHKG has been under (un)precedented DDoS attacks for the past 24 hours. We have reason to believe that there is a power, or even a national level power, behind the organization of such attacks as botnets from all over the world were manipulated in launching this attack.”

“The enormous amount of network requests has caused Internet congestion and has overloaded the server, which has occasionally affected the access to LIHKG. The website data and members’ information have been unaffected.”

In addition, British media quoted people familiar with the matter as saying that Telegram, a U.K. based instant messaging service, recently detected that Hong Kong or the mainland Chinese government may have uploaded a large number of phone numbers to the application, trying to identify the demonstrators using its matching function. Telegram software will automatically match the members of the communication group by phone number. The Chinese government only needs to ask the local telephone company to find out the true identities of the Telegram users. It is unclear whether the Chinese government has successfully identified the demonstrators.

Telegram is working on a fix to allow the users to disable the matching by phone number, so as to protect the privacy of Hong Kong protesters.

Source: Radio Free Asia, August 31, 2019