What the Heck is wpkg.org, and Why Are We Being Redirected to It?
Web users in Beijing and indeed around China are wondering what's up with their browsers, as many of them are complaining that visits to overseas sites are being automatically redirected to a site called wpkg.org (and in some cases ptraveler.com).
UPDATE 5/2: Authorities: WPKG.org Reroute Was an Overseas Hack
Prevailing theories say the redirect only happens when visiting sites that contain "Login with Facebook" or "Connect with Facebook" buttons (aka most of the sites in the known Western world). Facebook itself works normally (provided you are using a VPN).
What's odd is that it seems that the redirect does not happen consistently on every page of every site, and sometimes there is a delay before the redirect. Using a VPN does not stop the weirdness, some users report.
There does not seem to be any significance of the sites that are receiving the redirects. WPKG is a website for an open source automated software deployment, upgrade, and removal program for Windows, while ptraveler is the personal travel blog of a young Polish couple.
Chinese users have noticed the redirect as well.
Users on our forum and on Reddit are reporting possible workarounds, with some suggesting that ad blocking software may be able to prevent the re-directs and others suggesting it might be a computer virus.
However, one computer expert said a virus can be ruled out because the redirects are platform- and device-independent and so far have only been reported in one geographic area (China). "A virus typically attacks only one platform, it wouldn't affect so many devices like that at the same time," he said.
Other theories include some sort of web malfunction, a hack, or some nefarious plan to prevent us Beijingers from getting updates from our hometown websites.
We'll keep you posted as the situation develops.
Image: Screenshot from wpkg.org