An attack by the Iranian Cyber Army on China's largest search engine Baidu kept the Chinese twittersphere buzzing for most of Tuesday.
The reason for the attack has yet to be made clear; some assume it was a response to seeing Chinese netizens express support for the Iranian Green Movement.
A few hours after Baidu went black, green, white and red, a group of Chinese hackers calling themselves Chinese Honker launched their counteroffensive, hijacking or taking down a list of websites which included those for Iran's Supreme Leader, President Ahmadinejad, the ministries of Foreign Affairs, Defence and the Interior, among others. Their work can still be viewed here.
As popular as Baidu is in China, it remains obedient to Chinese authorities and as a result gets its share of flack for heavy-handed censorship of search results and user content on the company's other services. When it became evident that the Iranian cyber-attackers probably thought they were sending a message to progressive Chinese voices critical of their government, jokes began circulating on Twitter and spread outward to other Chinese online spaces. It remains unknown if cyber-soldiers from both countries know why they attacked each other.
From Twitter today:
: The feelings of the Iranians were hurt by the Chinese people….
@line_4: 千万不要让伊朗网军知道我们中国互联网的命脉是GFW，如果GFW被搞垮了那中国就完蛋了。 #CN4Iran
: No matter what do not tell the Iranian Cyber Army that the lifeline of the Chinese Internet is the GFW. If the GFW goes down, China will be done in for. #CN4Iran
@lianyue: 让他们爽：伊朗网军，你们黑了百度以后，我的生活全乱套了，根本上不了 #twitter (这条是美国的朋友代发)，求求你饶了中国人吧。 #CN4Iran
: Tell them this: Iranian Cyber Army, since you took down Baidu, my life has been a mess, I can't get on Twitter (An American friend helped me send this tweet), we Chinese beg you to spare us. #CN4Iran
: I'm happy watching stupid pro-gov Iranian Cyber Army fucking pro-gov Baidu.com. Yeah, pls do more! #CN4Iran
: Stupid Iranian Cyber Army fucked Baidu.com's ass. Hey！you jackass, it is WRONG HOLE! #CN4Iran
: If Iranian hackers take down our GFW, or if we take down theirs, both sides will swarm each other, and in the end what pops out will be a few hundred thousand people happy to be out of it all, who will shake hands and thank each other when they meet. How awkward will that make those hackers feel then…
: It's been 4 hrs since baidu.com was hacked by Iranian Cyber Army. CN state-ctrled media says domain reg info was doctored by US registrar.
: I'm happy that Baidu was taken down. It's great that this company so willing to be a eunuch, a slave to the Party, was taken down for a while.
@fearlessz: 给这两个邮箱发邮件，告诉伊朗网军中国互联网的命门是GFW！email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org #CN4Iran #ICA #baidu
: E-mail these two address, tell the Iranian Cyber Army that the key to our Internet is the GFW! email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org #CN4Iran #ICA #baidu
@cctvWeb: 伊朗网军我告诉你：即使你搞了baidu.com，我们还有更强大的qq.com和cctv.com和people.com.cn和xinhuanet.com #CN4IRan
: Listen up, Iranian Cyber Army, even if you did get baidu.com, we still have the even tougher qq.com, cctv.com, people.com.cn and xinhuanet.com #CN4Iran
: #CN4IRan to hack baidu is nonsense coz we use cctv.com xinhuanet.com. But I dun't think iran cyber army can hack these sites
: I suspect Baidu was hacked because they are aware of #cn4iran support of #iranelection. They hacked Twitter last time.