Wow. Baidu.com has been hacked this morning around 9:30 and is just back on at 3pm. More than 5:30 hours downtime.
Worst of all, they have no way to hide it was a hack, even the People’s Daily published the picture. Perhaps the party media does not consider websites as part of China’s glorious industry and it is not concerned with covering up. Not like they could have hidden it anyway, but I find it interesting that they didn’t try:
This reminds me of yesterday’s article on Caixin, coincidentally titled: Page Not Found. It explains the very unusual situation of a Chinese internet industry that is averse to innovation.
But in addition to the domestic environment’s impact, rottenness inside the industry deserves some blame for the crisis. Whirlwind development led to stories of overnight riches, which in turn attracted a significant number of unqualified entrepreneurs with questionable motives. The industry now looks at innovation as risky, while copycats seek instant success with online games, cheap content and plagiarism. They exploit regulatory loopholes or do business in the economy’s gray zone.
I don’t want to read too much into a simple incident, but it is kind of a big deal in the first Chinese Nasdaq company, a website ranked N1 in China and N8 in the World. I can’t help feeling that Baidu have been too long sitting on their cozy market share and government protection, selling search results or luring in users with copyrighted mp3 for download. Instead of innovating and improving their security.
To be sure, Baidu also brings out some new stuff once in a while, and I quite like the Baidupedia to look up Chinese things. But when you compare with Facebook, Twitter or Google, you see those companies are constantly taking risks to try out new ideas, while Chinese sites tend to sit around and copy. I mean, surely you can’t run an internet company like you are running a steel mill?
Just a coincidence, probably, but the COO of Baidu stepped down yesterday “for personal reasons”.
UPDATE: It is 7pm and baidu.com is still on and off. The rest of the services, baike, mp3, etc. all work properly and can be accessed through baidu.cn, but the main page is down at this moment. Downtime close to 10 hours already.