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China’s web traffic accidentally sent to Wyoming shell company

WyomingYesterday, servers of a previously investigated shell company headquarters in Wyoming received nearly all the traffic from the China servers. This seems to have occurred after the country’s Great Firewall had attempted to block the servers that all the traffic was accidentally routed to. The New York Times reported that this occurred on Tuesday, leaving most of China’s 500 million internet users unable to access web pages for up to eight hours. GreatFire.org, an independent site that monitors China’s censorship, reports that the issue lasted for around 45 minutes before it began to be gradually resolved.

The servers where the traffic was redirected, Sophidea Incorporated, appears to help people evade China’s firewall. In an extensive Reuters profile in 2011, the location of Sophidea was found to also be the home to more than 2,000 companies even though it measured just 1,700-square-feet. The location was actually the headquarters of Wyoming Corporate Services, which creates shell companies for purchase. Among these companies were a company that assisted online poker operators in getting around gambling bans, and a company that was found to be selling counterfeit truck parts to the Pentagon. Gerald Pitts, the Wyoming Corporate Services president, said in an interview on Wednesday that his company acted as the registered agent for 8,000 businesses, including Sophidea, though he did not know what the company did. Though the physical location has changed to a nearby location, it seems as if the Wyoming Corporate Services still works in the same capacity as detailed in 2011.

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