If you’re experiencing connectivity issues with Telegram, this is due to what the company describes as ‘a powerful DDoS attack’ (Distributed Denial of Service) …
The company explained the situation in a Twitter thread.
We’re currently experiencing a powerful DDoS attack, Telegram users in the Americas and some users from other countries may experience connection issues.
A DDoS is a “Distributed Denial of Service attack”: your servers get GADZILLIONS of garbage requests which stop them from processing legitimate requests. Imagine that an army of lemmings just jumped the queue at McDonald’s in front of you – and each is ordering a whopper.
The server is busy telling the whopper lemmings they came to the wrong place – but there are so many of them that the server can’t even see you to try and take your order.
To generate these garbage requests, bad guys use “botnets” made up of computers of unsuspecting users which were infected with malware at some point in the past. This makes a DDoS similar to the zombie apocalypse: one of the whopper lemmings just might be your grandpa.
There’s a bright side: All of these lemmings are there just to overload the servers with extra work – they can’t take away your BigMac and coke. Your data is safe.
Although Telegram’s official Twitter account doesn’t say anything about the suspected origin of the attack, founder and CEO Pavel Durov made it pretty clear that he believes the Chinese government is responsible.
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
There are currently prolonged protests in Hong Kong about a new law that would allow residents to be extradited to mainland China for trial, with many fearing this would be used by the government to silence or punish those critical of the Chinese government. Protestors are using a variety of secure messaging apps to coordinate their actions, but Telegram appears to be the app of choice for protest organisers around the world.