4chan Traffic Stop and Go on Verizon Wireless

MOBILE CYBERSPACE—In a post to the Verizon Wireless blog Monday, Vice President of Corporate Communications Jim Gerace publicly acknowledged that the carrier had blocked access to one of the image boards on 4chan.

“Recently,” he said, “Verizon Wireless security and external experts detected attacks from an IP address associated with the 4Chan family of websites that was disruptive to our customers and our network. To protect both, we eliminated connectivity to the IP address. At no time was 4Chan itself blocked. Ongoing network security team monitoring has now determined there is no longer an immediate threat. Connectivity to those sites is being restored later today.”

The blocking of 4chan traffic also was acknowledged by founder Christopher Poole in a blog post Sunday.

“Over the past 72 hours, we've been receiving reports from Verizon Wireless customers having difficulty accessing the image boards,” he wrote. “After investigating, we found that Verizon is dropping traffic to/from boards.4chan.org on port 80 (HTTP). No other subdomain/IP/port is affected, which leads us to believe this block is intentional. A call was placed to their support staff last night, and we were told that the ticket would not be looked at until Monday at the earliest, and: 'You'll need the customer to call to request it be unblocked ...'"

This is not the first time 4chan had had issues with U.S. carriers.

“If this all sounds familiar,” reports the Wall Street Journal, “it’s because AT&T had a similar encounter with 4chan over the summer. It blocked the site after a business customer was targeted by a denial-of-service attack that emanated from IP addresses connected to 4chan.”

“Typically,” added Gerace, “these attacks involve someone sending hundreds of thousands of messages to wireless devices to round up active customer addresses for follow-up activity including hacker attacks. These ‘sweeps’ can jam our network and deliver unwanted electronic messages that also can drain customer devices’ battery life and slow their operation.

"We take being the nation's most reliable wireless network seriously. Seriously enough to protect our customers and our network from malicious attacks, even if we get dinged in the blogosphere. It's easy to complain about 'blocking' when your wireless data connection is stable, fast and reliable. But try connecting to the web from your Droid or Blackberry when attacks slow—and potentially block—use of our network all together.”