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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