Inside the internet's China syndrome

Summary:On 8 April this year for 18 minutes, 15 per cent of global internet traffic was routed through China, according to news this week. This included sensitive US government and military traffic as well as corporate data, supposedly creating an enormous security risk. Really?

On 8 April this year for 18 minutes, 15 per cent of global internet traffic was routed through China, according to news this week. This included sensitive US government and military traffic as well as corporate data, supposedly creating an enormous security risk. Really?

China denies there was a hijack.

But deliberate or not, something unusual did happen on 8 April this year. Internet traffic that normally wouldn't have passed through China did. However, it wasn't 15 per cent of global traffic, but traffic from 15 per cent of routes. According to one estimate by Arbor Networks, it was perhaps 0.015 per cent of traffic — a stream of somewhere between one and three gigabits per second. And as you might have guessed, some of the media scaremongering was rubbish.

On Patch Monday this week, we explain what really happened. Why did the traffic go to China? Could it happen again? What are the real risks? Was there really a threat to national security? What should you do to protect your private and business data?

Our guest is information security specialist Crispin Harris. He's currently with one of Australia's major resources companies, but has worked in a variety of high-security environments.

As usual, Patch Monday also includes Stilgherrian's random look at the week's IT news.

To leave an audio comment for Patch Monday, Skype to stilgherrian, or phone Sydney 02 8011 3733.

Running time: 24 minutes, 24 seconds.

Topics: Government, Broadband, Browser, China, Enterprise 2.0, Government : AU, Security

About

Stilgherrian is a freelance journalist, commentator and podcaster interested in big-picture internet issues, especially security, cybercrime and hoovering up bulldust. He studied computing science and linguistics before a wide-ranging media career and a stint at running an IT business. He can write iptables firewall rules, set a rabbit tr... Full Bio

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