China's central bank website has been hit by a Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack. It is thought the attack may be in response to the organisation's announcement the other day of an effective ban on Bitcoin deposits in renminbi (RMB), which caused the price of the Bitcoin (BTC) virtual currency to plummet around the world.
The People's Bank of China (PBoC) yesterday ordered third party payment providers to stop offering clearing services to bitcoin exchanges, effectively banning RMB deposits in the virtual currency.
Official confirmation of the DDoS attack from the Chinese central bank has yet to be received, but its action on RMB deposits in BTC were enough to force BTC China, the world’s largest bitcoin exchange, to stop accepting deposits and to trigger a reduction in its value.
Although PBoC said that individuals are still free to trade in the digital currency at their own risk, the ban on third-party payment service providers doing Bitcoin business, which comes into foce on 31 January, effectively makes new purchases of BTC impossible. Two weeks ago the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) warned that Bitcoin was not legally protected and lacked ‘real meaning’, while barring financial institutions (FIs) from Bitcoin transactions.
News sites in China claimed that the PBoC's website was down due to a flood of traffic from abroad, as fans of the virtual cyber-currency appeared to be fighting back.
Individuals in China are still able to buy and sell Bitcoins, but they now have fewer options when they choose to do so.
BTC38, a Chinese bitcoin exchange, said: “Some internet users claimed the central bank was hit by a DDoS attack. We strongly condemn those hackers. Our site has also been DDOS’d several times. No matter what, those attacks are irrational and illegal."
By Gary Cooper