A month after web chaos, Baofeng issues new media player

Iris Hong
23 Jun 2009

A month after one of China\'s worst-ever internet outages, Beijing-based streaming video provider Baofeng has issued a new version of its popular media player.

A design flaw in the Baofeng app, used by 120 million people, is believed to have "amplified" internet server attacks that crashed 100,000 web sites.

The company said the new version is "more secure" and "more green", saying that a back-end process has been eliminated and the new application takes up less system resources than the previous one.

Baofeng stopped providing download of the flawed media application since June 1 and has told users to install the new version.

On the night of May 19, DNSs in over 20 Chinese provinces failed to work properly, causing at least 100,000 web sites to be inaccessible. The outage lasted for about four hours before services were restored.

The Chinese police later detained four suspects who allegedly attacked the DNS servers of three unauthorized gaming sites in order to sabotage competition. The attack triggered a chain reaction because the DNS servers, offered by Chinese domain registrar DNSPod, were also used by Baofeng.

Because a back-end process of Baofeng constantly connects to the server to download software upgrades and adverts, all online Baofeng programs started continuously sending DNS queries.

Unable to answer them, Baofeng\'s authoritative DNS servers passed on the queries to telecom operators\' higher-level servers that could not process them either. The queries piled up and the resulting network congestion slowed or halted internet access.

This was described as the second worst internet incident in China, only after a service interruption due to damaged undersea cables during an earthquake near Taiwan on December 26, 2006.

Feng Xin, chief executive of video streaming service provider Baofeng, told China Business News earlier this month that the company will sue the hackers for a compensation of 2.38 million yuan ($348,131).

But Baofeng itself faces a compensation claim from Real Networks for allegedly using the US firm\'s technology in its media player.

Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People\'s Court last December found Baofeng guilty of providing unauthorized access to RealPlayer program components through its media player and ordered it to pay 200,000 yuan in compensation.

Baofeng\'s appeal to the Beijing Supreme Court began last Wednesday.

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