It was not immediately clear what caused the traffic shift Tuesday. One Chinese newspaper suspected a cyberattack. But by late Tuesday, some technologists had come to an alternate theory: a backfiring of China’s own Internet censoring system.

Sophidea appears to be a service that redirects traffic from one address to another to mask a person’s whereabouts — or to evade a firewall.

Some technologists surmised Tuesday that the disruption may have been caused by Chinese Internet censors who attempted to block traffic to Sophidea’s websites but mistakenly redirected traffic to the service instead.

That theory was buttressed by the fact that a separate wave of Chinese Internet traffic Tuesday was simultaneously redirected to Internet addresses owned by Dynamic Internet Technology, a company that helps people evade China’s Great Firewall, and is typically blocked in China.