Internet traffic hijack dogs Google

Gerald Bowen
November 16, 2018

Engadget reports that Google services went down for an hour worldwide recently after the company's IP addresses were re-routed from their usual paths to ones running through Nigeria, China, and Russian Federation.

Even with MainOne's explanation, there was speculation that Monday's 74-minute data hijacking might not have been an accident.

"Everyone is pretty confident that nothing untoward took place", MainOne spokesman Tayo Ashiru said.

The method is also formally known as border gateway protocol hijacking, it can knock essential services offline and enable espionage and financial theft. A recent study by U.S. Naval War College and Tel Aviv University scholars says China systematically hijacks and diverts U.S. internet traffic. It can arise either from misconfiguration - human error, essentially- or from a malicious action. It's very hard to tell the difference, said Williams.

Google said it had no reason to believe the traffic hijacking was malicious. The Chinese company, in turn, sent along the bad data to Russia's TransTelecom, a major internet presence. ThousandEyes, a network monitoring firm, was one of the first companies to raise the alarm on Tuesday after noticing traffic to Google was getting dropped at China Telecom.

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The traffic diversion into China created a detour with a dead end, preventing users from accessing the affected Google services, said Alex Henthorn-Iwane, an executive at the network-intelligence company ThousandEyes.

"[It] further underscores one of the fundamental weaknesses in the fabric of the internet", Mr Naik wrote. "If this could happen to a company with the scale and resources available that Google has, realize it could happen to anyone".

Henthorn-Iwane says Monday's hijacking may have been "a war-game experiment". Because the diversion allowed Google's traffic to be "put in the hands" of ISPs that had no business accessing it.

This eventually caused vast bucketfuls of internet traffic bound for Google in the United States and posibly elsewhere to pour into a bottomless pit in China Telcom's network, effectively knocking the ad giant offline in the eyes of many netizens.

"The issue with Google Cloud IP addresses being erroneously advertised by internet service providers other than Google has been resolved for all affected users as of 14:35 US/Pacific", the company aid. But it's still not good news as some businesses that are big into Google's G Suite were left twiddling their thumbs for some time.

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