DNS Poisoning

This morning while waiting for shuttle, after checking work email, I made my usual rounds of douban.com, friendfeed, and twitter. Everyone of them was filled with angry rants in Chinese. Turned out GFW of China just blocked google at its entirety, not just search, but gmail, reader, docs, etc. The blockage lasted for 1~2 hours for some, but longer for others. Mobile was impacted too. Apparently Opera Mini came to the rescue for some nokia users (i wonder how that works?).

Later during the day, the word was out that it was “DNS Poisoning”. Interesting. In the past, GFWoC has always been using RST to cut TCP connections. So user will see “Connection Reset by Peer” error on their webpage. “DNS Poisoning” is a new tactic. GFWoC is stepping up its game!

DNS cache poisoning is a maliciously created or unintended situation that provides data to a caching Domain Name System server that did not originate from authoritative Domain Name System (DNS) sources. This can happen through improper software design, misconfiguration of name servers, and maliciously designed scenarios exploiting the traditionally open-architecture of the DNS system. Once a DNS server has received such non-authentic data and caches it for future performance increase, it is considered poisoned, supplying the non-authentic data to the clients of the server.
-via Wikipedia.org

When a single user does this, it is called a cyber crime.
What do you call a country systematically does this to its own people? Internal affair? or crime against (cyber) humanity?

The Bulb @ Albany, CA


I hope…
The weather holds…
But you don’t need the sun
to make you shine
-Graffiti Poetry on “The Heart Castle”, The Bulb, Albany, CA

An editor friend of ZM, Han, came to SF in June, they were collaborating on a 40 page photo journal project for Han’s magazine in China, called City Pictorial. The subject is hippies in San Francisco. At the end of Han’s stay, ZM took Han to The Bulb in Albany, interviewed a few homeless “residents” that ZM had befriended on the Bulb. They call themself “The Landfillians”. Han fell in love with the landscape, which was industrial ruins covered by wild flowers, vegetation and art installations. Han begged ZM to him back there 2 more times and worked from day to night photographing the place. Han called the bulb “The Paradise.”

ZM took me there last Saturday. And I understood.

June 4th, 1989

This Thursday will be the 20th “June 4th” after the Spring of 1989.

20 years is a big deal.

The whole country is waiting in anxiety. I’m sure the upper management of all the big Chinese internet companies such as Sina.com, Baidu, Sohu, Tianya, etc. are all sitting on the edge of their seats, praying for June 5th’s peaceful arrival. So are the leaders of China, and local government of Beijing.

As a prelude, both blogger.com and blogspot.com were blocked by Great Firewall of China since mid-May. Rumor goes that other Google services such as docs, picasa, image search etc. would soon to follow. For the communist party, Google has always been the poster bad boy, whenever they have a need for a public flogging, Google has always been the default choice.

My usual routine is a lot less dramatic. It constitutes of digging up what i wrote down in 2004, re-read it and try to remember that Spring in Bejing one more time. Then maybe feeling a bit sad of how the Chinese youth born after the 80’s or 90’s have no knowledge of that Spring because the government has done such a thorough job of suppressing the past. Then i put that piece of writing away, and continue with my current life.

But 20 years is a big deal. I’m forced to think a bit more, not just because the usual angry youth in Chinese BBC protesting the locking down of service, or the ever expanding banned word list used in the crack down on line. It seems that I’m not the only one who is thinking a bit more this year. I’ve read some interesting discussion on various Chinese BBS.

Both on-line and off-line discussion around me seem to conclude that the generation that felt the strongest impact of the Spring of 89 was the generation that was in high school and college during the crackdown (that would including me, i.e. my generation). We were completely disillusioned. Before the crack down, this generation was very enthusiastic about politics, about the fate and future of China and its people. After the crack down, we turned cynical, we looked elsewhere. Most concentrated on getting rich. Many left the country.

The single-mindedness of today’s China, its sole focus on money and nothing else, had a lot to do with my generation’s shock therapy received in the Spring of 1989.

Another interesting side effect of the complete suppressing of the existence of that Spring is that the newer generations know no fear. They had no idea what consequence of speaking their minds would result in. In that way, they grow up more healthy. Maybe when they do decide speak their minds in a grand way, reception they receive will be warmer. That was largely what happened to my generation too, up till the night of June 4th. All of us had heard warnings from our parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents. They had seen their own share of crack downs, they knew what would come. We didn’t. Now we do.

Let’s wish today’s China is confident enough and brave enough to listen to what they had to say, let’s wish the newer generation will never know what would have come.