Chinese Internet Diversion Was Worrisome, Report Says

In an article dated November 17, 2010, Ellen Nakashima of The Washington Post, reports that a recently released Congressional commission report indicates that in April of this year, "a state-owned Chinese telecommunications firm rerouted massive amounts of Internet traffic, including from U.S. military and government networks, through Chinese servers before sending it on its way."

Although it is not yet clear whether the rerouting was deliberate, the four-day old U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission's 2010 report stated that this capability could enable China to undertake "severe malicious activities."   

According to the report, "[t]he incident affected traffic to about 15 percent of the world's Internet network routes."  There are approximately 300,000 such network routes worldwide.  Internet servers make individualized determinations as to which of those 300,000 routes it will "use to speed data to its destination;" in so doing, those servers consult a "'routing table.'" Routing tables are a means to organize and quickly reference which routes are available based on Internet service providers "announced routes for networks they host."  In April, "China Telecom announced routes for tens of thousands of networks it did not own," including those of the U.S. Senate, U.S. Army, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps, Office of the Secretary of Defense, U.S. Department of Commerce, and NASA. 

Dmitri Alperovitch, Vice President of Threat Research for McAfee, Inc., briefed the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission on the incident.  According to Alperovitch, McAfee was able to monitor China's redirection of Internet traffic.  He stated that the "Chinese could have snooped on or even modified the traffic as it flowed through their pipes."  Intentional or not, Alperovitch said "it [was] the largest successful 'hijacking' or rerouting of Internet traffic ever."

 

The full article can be found above, or here.  

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission's 2010 report is available here (note: the link is to be PDF, which is quite large).  

Also of note, the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission's report entitled "Capability of the People's Republic of China to Conduct Cyber Warfare and Computer Network Exploitation" is available here

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Authors

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Professor William Snyder

Professor William C. Snyderis a member of the faculty of the Institute for National Security and Counter-terrorism at Syracuse University after fifteen years with the United States Department of Justice.

Ryan D. White

Ryan D. WhiteRyan is currently a third year law student at Syracuse University College of Law, and is also pursuing a Master of Public Administration degree from Syracuse’s Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. Ryan spent time with Homeland Security Investigations while pursuing his undergraduate degree at Wesleyan University, and spent his first summer of law school as clerk for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Western District of New York. He is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and participates in the Veteran’s Legal Clinic. Full biography

Shelby E. Mann

Ryan D. WhiteShelby is a second year law student at the Syracuse University College of Law. During her final year at the University of Missouri, she served as a full-time news producer for ABC 17 News. Shelby spent her first summer of law school at the Shelby County District Attorney General's Office in Memphis, Tenn., in the Public Corruption and Economic Crimes Unit. She is a member of Syracuse Law Review, the Journal on Terrorism and Security Analysis, and the senior editor for the Syrian Accountability Project. Full biography

Christopher w. FolkChristopher W. Folk

is a 2017 graduate of SU College of Law. A non-traditional student, Christopher returned to academia after spending nearly twenty years in the high tech industry. Christopher served in the Marine Corps, graduated from Cornell University with a B.S. In Applied Economics and Business Management, attended Northeastern University’s High-Tech MBA Program and received a M.S. In Computer Information Systems. Christopher previously worked in Software Engineering. Christopher is currently serving his second term as Town Justice for the Town of Waterloo. Christopher externed with a Cybersecurity firm in the Washington, D.C. area between his first and second year at SU College of Law. Full biography

Anna Maria Castillo

is 2016 graduate of Syracuse College of Law. She also holds a Master of Arts in International Relations from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs. She has interned at a London-based think-tank that specializes in transnational terrorism and global security and at the legal department of a defense contractor. She served as an executive editor in the Syracuse Law Review. Full biography

Jennifer A. CamilloJennifer A. Camillo

is a 2015 graduate of Syracuse College of Law and is a prosecutor. She has served as a law clerk in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York and the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office and as an extern in the Oneida County District Attorney’s Office. She was a member of the Syracuse National Trial Team and was awarded the Tiffany Cup by the New York Bar Association for her trial advocacy achievements.

Tara J. PistoreseTara J. Pistorese

holds Juris Doctor and Masters of Public Administration degrees from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and its College of Law. She wrote for this blog when a student. She is now a member of the U.S. Army Judge Advocate General's Corps.

Benjamin Zaiser

is both a scholar and a Federal Agent of the Federal Criminal Police Office of Germany. (Opinions expressed here are his own and not any part of official duty.) Full biography

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