China Telecom Hijacks Internet Traffic

Image Credit to WikiMedia

In December 2009, China launched an attack on Google and other companies, prompting Google to remove the censors from Chinese search results and eventually pull out of the country altogether. The attack made worldwide headlines and persuaded defense officials to visit “cyber-terrorism” as a legitimate threat.

In September the US Department of Defense proposed policy that required contractors to put in safe guards to protect against such attacks as well as provide better tracking abilities. The attacks on Google were tracked back to IP addresses that pointed to Chinese government and state offices.

New reports are surfacing from the US-China Economic Aid and Security Review Commission that internet traffic was diverted from .gov and .mil sites for 18 minutes in April and was rerouted through servers located in China. These diversions included traffic from the sites of the four branches of the military, NASA, the office of the Secretary of Defense, and NOAA – just to name a few. Commercial traffic was also rerouted as well, with companies like Dell and Yahoo! reporting that their traffic was also rerouted. It’s not known if the incident was an accident caused by the reported “incorrect signal sent by China Telecom” or if it was a malicious attack. It is also unknown what China Telecom did with this information.

To some, the recent attacks are nothing more than a reflection of the design of the internet and a “hole” that someone was able to take advantage of. Others feel that it’s a report designed to allow for the federal government to extend more control over internet security, with some speculating a similar “Great FireWall of China” here in the United States.

As tensions continue to rise between the two technologically advanced countries, and with China now home to the world’s top super computer, the Tianhe-1A, moving the American Jaguar system to second place, it’s apparent that the Chinese and the Americans will continue to volley power and accusations back and forth, and security protocols will change and evolve on both sides.

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