Chinese state-backed hackers increase attacks against Uyghur Times

by Anne Kader

Image: Gerd Altman / Pixabay



By Uyghur Times Editorial Team




The Chinese government has a long record of attacking Uyghur groups in the diaspora.


World Uyghur Congress and Uyghur Human Rights Project have published multiple press releases on Chinese cyberattacks targeting their websites and servers.


Uyghur Times, an independent media organization founded by Uyghurs to speak about Uyghurs, has been one of the targets of Chinese cyberattacks since its foundation in 2018.



Uyghur Times, along with other Uyghur websites, went through another round of Chinese cyberattacks in September 2019, according to Volexity, a Washington-based cybersecurity firm. In its September 2019 blog post, Volexity stated that cyberspace is becoming a battleground for the Uyghurs. The post specifically mentioned three websites of the Uyghur Times: the English, Uyghur, and Chinese main index. These days the level of Chinese surveillance against Uyghurs extends well beyond their borders and has entered the digital realm.


The mainstream media such as CNN, PC Magazine, TechCrunch, and many other media outlets reported the news of the Chinese cyberattack against Uyghur groups.


Google and Apple also warned their users against the virus that the Chinese hackers had used to attack Uyghur Times websites. As a result, the Uyghur Times decided to abandon the WordPress CMS and instead create its own CMS.


Starting from January 10, 2022, we have seen more cyberattacks by unknown hackers aimed at the main index of the English and Chinese websites of the Uyghur Times. Hundreds of thousands of unidentified visitors have burdened the server of the Uyghur Times, VOA reports. This attack targeted most of the Uyghur groups and other American media organizations.


Mr. Koznak, the chief technical officer of the Uyghur Times, told us that “The types of cyber attacks we have received recently include DoS and DDoS attack, phishing attack, E-mail server attack, and ransomware attacks. As a result, they have managed to stop the server briefly a few times. We took quick and strong measures to protect our server and data security, as well as the privacy of our visitors. We are pretty sure that it is the nature of the Chinese authorities to continue to attack the code of our websites, generate mass fake visitors to steal data, and add a burden on our server.”


In May 2021, Over fifty Chinese media platforms such as Global Times (环球时报), Sina, QQ, and 163 published defamatory reports about Uyghur Times and its founder Tahir Imin, lies created by the Chinese government mouthpiece Global Times. Their purpose is to create strife between Uyghurs and other Muslims.


On April 2021, the propaganda officials of Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region declared: Tahir Imin is an East Turkistani element that spreads lies about China.



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