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Chinese ISP Hijacks the Internet (Again) 171

Posted by Soulskill
from the phase-two-test-complete dept.
CWmike writes "For the second time in two weeks, bad networking information spreading from China has disrupted the Internet. On Thursday morning, bad routing data from a small Chinese ISP called IDC China Telecommunication was re-transmitted by China's state-owned China Telecommunications, and then spread around the Internet, affecting Internet service providers such as AT&T, Level3, Deutsche Telekom, Qwest Communications, and Telefonica. 'There are a large number of ISPs who accepted these routes all over the world,' said Martin A. Brown, technical lead at Internet monitoring firm Renesys. Brown said the incident started just before 10 am Eastern and lasted about 20 minutes. During that time the Chinese ISP transmitted bad routing information for between 32,000 and 37,000 networks, redirecting them to IDC instead of their rightful owners. These networks included about 8,000 US networks, including those operated by Dell, CNN, Starbucks, and Apple. More than 8,500 Chinese networks, 1,100 in Australia, and 230 owned by France Telecom were also affected."
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Chinese ISP Hijacks the Internet (Again)

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  • Not unintentional (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nickodeemus (1067376) on Friday April 09, 2010 @04:42PM (#31794598)
    All that data routed to the wrong place accidentally... hmmm sounds like a perfect excuse to me - for intelligence gathering. If it passes through their routers, they have the data.
  • Blacklist 'em (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DogDude (805747) on Friday April 09, 2010 @04:43PM (#31794604) Homepage
    Until China learns how to act as responsible Internet citizens, I'll continue to blackhole as many of Chinese subnets as I can find both at work and home. Spam, malware, and every kind of crap comes from China, and I don't do business with any Chinese, so it's a no-brainer.
  • by Turzyx (1462339) on Friday April 09, 2010 @04:47PM (#31794678)
    The ISP in question only controls 30 networks, yet other routers blindly accepted thousands. Why isn't there basic verification of such re-configurations? I'm actually very shocked, the potential for abuse is huge; and TWICE as well.
  • Fall guy (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Manip (656104) on Friday April 09, 2010 @04:50PM (#31794732)

    Why can one "small" ISP do this? I mean from a technical point of view how can they spread routing information for endpoints their network doesn't own? While they have clearly dropped the ball, I struggle to understand how they could accomplish this even if they tried, that is if everyone else's equipment is configured correctly *cough*

  • Re:Blacklist 'em (Score:5, Interesting)

    by PNutts (199112) on Friday April 09, 2010 @04:54PM (#31794806)

    Until China learns how to act as responsible Internet citizens, I'll continue to blackhole as many of Chinese subnets as I can find both at work and home. Spam, malware, and every kind of crap comes from China, and I don't do business with any Chinese, so it's a no-brainer

    Well, since more SPAM comes from the US I assume you'll block those subnets too? []

    Also, in March the US was the source of most malware, but since you already have that blocked for SPAM you should also block Korea who for some reason in the month of April took the lead. []

    In regard to China learning how to act as responsible Internet citizens, you are not leading by example.

  • Re:Chinese bashing? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Blackbrain (94923) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:03PM (#31794976)
    This kind of thing happens all of the time. Subscribe to the operators list at [] and you will see reports of mis-announced prefixes every month or two. This is just China bashing and media sensationalism. (Which I do mind very much, thank you)
  • by Beelzebud (1361137) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:08PM (#31795046)
    This should really be cause for alarm. Does China also use the Narus systems that the NSA is using to spy on all Americans?
  • Re:Not unintentional (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TreyGeek (1391679) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:11PM (#31795082) Homepage
    Sounds a lot like "Stealthy IP Prefix Hijacking" []. Advertise a BGP route that will be accepted by some people to attract their traffic. Do it correctly, it may be less noticeable than a full prefix hijacking (though it was obviously noticed in this case). You can also attempt to moderate the amount of traffic you receive so that you don't DOS yourself with the incoming flow and you can analyze the traffic easier. BGP is a pretty insecure protocol and depends a lot upon the upstream providers filtering announcements properly.
  • by zero_out (1705074) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:17PM (#31795174)

    Our Grand Communist Party of the Great Nation of China plan to get the rest of the world to leave us alone about our glorious firewall, and desire, nay, duty to protect our citizens:

    Step 1: Push out Google

    Step 2: Muck up their internet

    Step 3: They kick us off "their" internet

    Step 4: Setup our own, national, internet

    Step 5: Be praised by the lesser nations for staying off their internet, rather than chastised for walling ourselves off and keeping their realfacts out

    Step 6: Spread propaganda, er... goodfacts about our Grand Communist Party of the Great Nation of China

    Step 7: Unlimited, eternal power to do whatever we please

  • by billstewart (78916) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:29PM (#31795336) Journal

    By "old-school principles", you did mean "pre-ARIN IPv4 Swamp Addresses", didn't you? :-)

    Yeah, the people who designed IPv6 hoped that by having a big enough address space with no pre-existing reservations, they could make routing simpler and cleaner and delay the problem of routers running out of special route table memory and routing protocol horsepower, but that was pretty much a pipe dream:

    • Medium-large businesses want to own their own address space instead of using provider-owned space so they've got the ability to change carriers without renumbering,
    • businesses that want multi-homing for diversity need to have routing table presence regardless of what size their address blocks are,
    • geographical addressing may be ok for single-site businesses, but tends to fail for businesses with multiple offices (at least multiple offices with public presence),
    • and anybody who wants to be an early adopter (i.e. actually be using IPv6 long enough to be stable before the IPv4 ship sails off the edge of the world and everybody else notices the dragons and their ISP does something useful about IPv6) is likely to spend the ~$1250 to get their own public IPv6 space as opposed to just building a tunnel to SiXXs or Hurricane Electric,

    so the IPv6 world's going to be a non-hierarchical mess just like the IPv4 world.

  • Re:Blacklist 'em (Score:3, Interesting)

    by beadfulthings (975812) on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:29PM (#31795348) Journal

    Of course, you are right about the routing. But since giving in to my baser impulses and blacklisting the entire country on my one humble web server, I've had a remarkable decrease in my annoyance factor in terms of crap like port scans, login attempts, comment spam in the blogs, and even a respite from the damned Baidu spiders who won't observe anybody's robots.txt file. Along about the fall of last year, I began observing what looked like attempts at ddos attacks--all originating from China. None of them succeeded, but my annoyance levels grew by leaps and bounds. When they started in with the UDP port scans (which I confess baffle me), I'd had enough. Incidentally, if you try to contact Baidu to see about their injudicious crawling, your email will most likely be returned with a note that your email provider has been blacklisted in China. I don't know what I'll do with all the time I'm saving--take up a hobby, perhaps.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2010 @05:31PM (#31795386)

    So while this was going on could the chinese save off the network traffic? They have the infrastructure Cisco routers, etc.
    Could they decrypt SSL packets ? It may take awhile but they're not doing this real-time.
    Go through any interesting attachments ? Spreadsheets, documents, ...
    I think I'll read up more on asymmetric warfare and the Red Army officer's paper on the subject.

  • Re:Chinese bashing? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Blackbrain (94923) on Friday April 09, 2010 @07:09PM (#31796260)

    Don't get me wrong, this was a really big mistake. It doesn't happen often at this scale, but it does happen.

    In this case the prefixes what were mis-broadcast were sequential for the most part and covered several networks and countries, not a specific target. The bulk of the misrouted addresses were actually in China. They also didn't leak the routes (as in the Pakistan incident) but re-originated the prefixes, pre-pending their AS number to the announcement. This means "origin AS" based filters would have stopped the incident form even happening. I think that some poor technician fat fingered his BGP announcement, trying to do some traffic shaping. An actual attack would have been much more sophisticated.

    You will have to make your own decision about your paranoia against China.

  • by jc42 (318812) on Friday April 09, 2010 @09:18PM (#31797140) Homepage Journal

    now you can order iPad direct from china through

    Nothing new here. When I ordered this Macbook Pro last year, I was able to follow online its progress from the warehouse in Shanghai to my porch. Apple is now effectively a delivery and customer-support service for Asian manufacturers.

    Maybe eventually they will cut out the middleman, as IBM did a while ago with its Thinkpad laptops. Now you order them directly from Lenovo, which is a Chinese firm. The pretense that they were an IBM product has ended.

The most important early product on the way to developing a good product is an imperfect version.