(Washington Post) China has moved beyond censoring Internet content seen by its own citizens to using a new cyberweapon researchers have dubbed "the Great Cannon" to silence critics around the world, according to a report released Friday.
The first use of this capability was a weeks-long attack against Web sites that offer tools to help users evade Chinese censorship. By sending crippling amounts of Web traffic, the attacks attempted to knock offline the anti-censorship site GreatFire as well as GitHub, a San Francisco-based Web service that is popular with programmers.
"This is very much an escalation," said Bill Marczak, one of the authors of the report by the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto's Munk School of Global Affairs. While China long has used the Great Firewall - as its censorship system is called - to block users within the country from accessing news stories or other information it deems inappropriate, the recent attack reached beyond international borders and effectively blocked a wide range of content for Web users around the world.
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