A Chinese ISP momentarily hijacks the Internet (again)
IDG News Service - For the second time in two weeks, bad networking information spreading from China has disrupted the Internet.
On Thursday morning, bad routing data from a small Chinese ISP called IDC China Telecommunication was re-transmitted by China's state-owned China Telecommunications, and then spread around the Internet, affecting Internet service providers such as AT&T, Level3, Deutsche Telekom, Qwest Communications and Telefonica.
"There are a large number of ISPs who accepted these routes all over the world," said Martin A. Brown, technical lead at Internet monitoring firm Renesys.
According to Brown, the incident started just before 10 a.m. Eastern Time on Thursday and lasted about 20 minutes. During that time IDC China Telecommunication transmitted bad routing information for between 32,000 and 37,000 networks, redirecting them to IDC China Telecommunication instead of their rightful owners.
These networks included about 8,000 U.S. networks including those operated by Dell, CNN, Starbucks and Apple. More than 8,500 Chinese networks,1,100 in Australia and 230 owned by France Telecom were also affected.
The bad routes may have simply caused all Internet traffic to these networks to not get through, or they could have been used to redirect traffic to malicious computers in China.
While the incident appears to have been an accident, it underscores the weakness of the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), a critical, but obscure, protocol used to bind the Internet together.
BGP data is used by routers to tell them how to route traffic over the Internet. Typically smaller service providers "announce" BGP routes for the networks they control, and that information is ultimately centralized and then shared between larger providers. That's where the problems started on Thursday. For some reason, IDC China Telecommunication announced routes for tens of thousands of networks -- about 10% of the Internet. Typically this small ISP announces about 30 routes.
That bad information was then accepted by the larger China Telecommunications, which shared the data with other major ISPs. Within minutes the bad data had spread around the globe.
ISPs may have accepted the hijacked route information, but that doesn't necessarily mean that a lot of Web surfers got redirected. It's common for routers to learn several BGP routes, and then route traffic to what they consider the best route. Often they choose the shortest route available. So most routers in the U.S. would have routed traffic to Apple's servers, for example, instead of IDC China Telecommunication.
"I don't believe there was really widespread impact, but some people must have noticed it," said Andree Toonk, founder and lead developer of BGPmon.net, a BGP monitoring service that has been tracking the situation. "Many people probably didn't prefer the path because they had a better path."
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- What Datapipe customers need to know about the new PCI DSS 3.0 compliance standard This handy quick reference outlines what PCI DSS 3.0 is, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the new...
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- The Critical Role of Support in Your Enterprise Mobility Management Strategy Most business leaders underestimate the importance of tech support when they choose an EMM solution. Here's what to put on your checklist.
- Live Webcast Best Practices for the Hyperconverged Enterprise Network To the Age of Constant Connectivity and Information overload
- Live Webcast Unmasking the Differences between Consumer and Enterprise File Sync & Share The consumerization of IT combined with the rapid pace of the modern mobile workplace is forcing enterprise IT teams to evaluate file sync...
- Live Webcast Government Agency Webifies Outdated COBOL Applications Let this CTO tell you how his agency converted 1980s-era green screens into an e-filing portal for the 100,000 cases handled each year...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,...
- Getting Ready for BlackBerry Enterprise Service 10.2 Find out how BlackBerry® Enterprise Service 10 helps organizations address the full spectrum of EMM challenges, while balancing the needs of both the... All Applications White Papers | Webcasts