Hacktivism Spreads to China? Mengniu Hacked in Protest of 2nd Milk Scandal


Mengniu website hacked, photo via domain.cn

Click to enlarge: Mengniu website hacked, photo via domain.cn

2011 was the year that we saw ‘hacktivism’ make headline after headline in the west, with organizations like Anonymous and Lolsec leading the way. Will 2012 be the year that we see similar activity springing up in China? It’s looking more and more possible.

We recently looked at the high-profile hacks of CDSN and Tianya, and some think such activity could be a challenge to real-name registration on services like microblogging sites. And while that notion is still just speculation, last night’s hack of Chinese milk company Mengniu’s (HKG:2319) website was a clear example of Chinese hacktivism.

In the wake of the company’s second tainted milk scandal, in which a batch of its milk was found to have contained carcinogens, the Mengniu website (mengniu.com.cn) was vandalized, with a message on the front page (see above) explaining that the company has hurt its own people, and questioning “Do you have a conscience?” It closes on a particularly strong note saying that “this is our national shame.”

Is this kind of hacktivism going to become a kind of protest 2.0 in China? Will we see hackers become sympathetic to uprisings like the one we saw in Wukan, and engage in activities with a more political slant? I’m just pondering out loud here, but it certainly an interesting possibility to consider.

(And yes, we're serious about ethics and transparency. More information here.)

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