Friday, November 19, 2010

A Wake Up Call: Internet Re-Routed by Accident By Way of China

A service provider, IDC China Telecommunication, broadcasted inaccurate web traffic routes for roughly 18 minutes in April.  The inaccurate routes just happened to go by way of China's state-owned "China Telecommunciations".  Essentially sending bits and bytes from across the world through Chinese government controlled servers.

For the U.S., the bits and bytes that went across the servers belonged to U.S. companies, the U.S. government and the U.S. military.  Data from many companies and departments such as the U.S. Senate, NASA, and the U.S. Armed Forces traveled this path.

A commission was formed to investigate and no evidence was found that this was intentional.

There are lots of conspiracy theories but I find these to be counter productive.

The real questions to me are:
1.  What can companies and countries do to "own" their internet traffic supply chain?  Is it even possible or economically feasible?

2.  When accidents like this occur, what should the notification process be?

3.  What governance and assurance process could we (or should we) create to avoid a copy-cat situation that would be on purpose?

4.  How does one know for sure what was an "accident" vs. a test of capabilities?

"Report Looks at How China Meddled with the Internet", John Markoff, November 17, 2010.

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