Apple Daily hit by DDoS over HK referendum too

PopVote.HK has not been the only website targeted in cyber attacks apparently motivated by the unofficial referendum on democratic reform in Hong Kong.

Pro-democracy newsletter Apple Daily has reported that it has fallen victim to a "massive cyber attack" that originated from "a heavy concentration of computers and ISPs located in China."

The publication was hit with a DDoS attack which at its peak resulted in more than 10 million bogus DNS queries to the Apple Daily website in Taiwan over a 24-hour period.

Analysis of a separate direct attack on Apple Daily servers showed that most of the traffic originated from IP addresses in China, though some came from Russia and the US.

Hackers typically use botnets of infected zombie computers to mount DDoS attacks, so the IP addresses do not necessarily confirm the origin of the attack.

While the Apple Daily website in Hong Kong had returned to 90% service levels as of Friday, the Taiwan site was still struggling under the ongoing attacks.

The attacks came as PopVote.HK, the website set up to take online votes for the referendum, suffered what may be Hong Kong's largest ever DDoS attack.

The unofficial referendum has been set up to gauge popular support for various proposed political reforms aimed at ensuring free elections in Hong Kong. The Chinese government has denounced the referendum as illegal.

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