Encrypted messaging platform Telegram said it experienced a “powerful” cyber attack on Wednesday during massive protests in Hong Kong.
The attempted distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attack was aimed at flooding the app with so much traffic that it impaired normal service.
It originated from “IP addresses coming mostly from China,” Telegram founder Pavel Durov said on Twitter. The impact was felt way beyond China.
The attack “coincided in time with protests in Hong Kong,” where people were coordinating on Telegram groups, Durov said.
Hundreds of thousands of people have flooded the streets of Hong Kong this week, protesting against a controversial bill that would allow alleged criminals to be extradited to China.
They fear the bill will leave anyone in Hong Kong vulnerable to extradition by Chinese authorities for political reasons or business offenses, undermining the city’s legal system.
The former British colony was returned to China in 1997, when Beijing agreed to guarantee its semi-autonomous legal system and certain democratic freedoms for the next 50 years under a policy known as “one country, two systems.”