Report: US net traffic was hijacked through China

Summary:China redirected internet traffic from UK and US public sector bodies through its own servers on April 8, according to security company McAfee.

At 3:00pm UTC on April 8, 2010, all traffic coming from military and civilian government networks in the UK, the US, Australia and South Korea started re-directing through China Telecom, said Dmitri Alperovitch, McAfee's vice president of threat research. Traffic coming from commercial organizations was also routed through Chinese servers.

"Traffic destined for 15 percent of the world's destinations was hijacked via internet routing protocols," Alperovitch told ZDNet UK on Tuesday. "China Telecom also had Dell, Microsoft and Yahoo as part of the re-routing." In addition, traffic coming from various parts of Russian and Indian networks was also hijacked.

The redirection occurred when China Telecom advertised itself as being the best route for data packets being sent from and to destinations. The core internet routing protocol, the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), allows for the exchange of information between networks of autonomous systems. BGP maintains a table of available IP networks and finds the most efficient routes for internet traffic. Service providers can announce BGP routes, which are then shared between other service providers. All affected traffic was re-routed by China Telecom for 18 minutes, but the after-effects were extended due to caching.

"The impact was longer than 18 minutes," said Alperovitch. "Later, China Telecom withdrew [the routing], but there was a delay. Some destinations were still being routed through China as much as an hour later." It was not known whether the traffic was re-routed deliberately or accidentally.

For more on this story, read China hijacked UK internet traffic, says McAfee on ZDNet UK.

Topics: China, Browser, Networking

About

Tom is a technology reporter for ZDNet.com, writing about all manner of security and open-source issues.Tom had various jobs after leaving university, including working for a company that hired out computers as props for films and television, and a role turning the entire back catalogue of a publisher into e-books.Tom eventually found tha... Full Bio

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Related Stories

The best of ZDNet, delivered

You have been successfully signed up. To sign up for more newsletters or to manage your account, visit the Newsletter Subscription Center.
Subscription failed.