Chat app Telegram has reportedly been DDoS'd, with its downtime coinciding with protests in Hong Kong against repressive new Chinese laws.
The traffic crapflood resulted in the app, which is advertised as being "privacy-focused", going offline to users "in the Americas", according to the firm, as well as unspecified "other countries". Telegram claims to have around 200 million users and said the outage lasted for around an hour.
The timing of the attack, last night, came as Hong Kong residents staged large-scale protests against a Chinese extradition law being pushed through the territory's legislature.
A century of British colonial rule left Hong Kong with laws and customs rooted in the democratic tradition, in stark contrast to the Chinese mainland. Locals are determined to maintain these in the face of authoritarian communist China, which took over the former colony in 1997 after Britain's century-long lease ended.
In another tweet, Telegram founder Pavel Durov explicitly attributed the DDoS to an army of devices in China:
IP addresses coming mostly from China. Historically, all state actor-sized DDoS (200-400 Gb/s of junk) we experienced coincided in time with protests in Hong Kong (coordinated on @telegram). This case was not an exception.— Pavel Durov (@durov) June 12, 2019
Telegram's group chat feature allows groups of up to 200,000 members to be created, making it a useful way of sending messages to large numbers of followers. Inevitably, governments have seen it as a direct threat: Russia targeted the app last year through both legal and illegal means, while Iran, Iraq and others have even diverted internet traffic in an effort to scoop up information about its users and their messages.
Reg readers may remember that Durov is on some kind of hunger strike in protest against his own lack of business inspiration, or something. ®