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Claims About China's April Internet Hijack Are Overblown 78

sturgeon writes "Yesterday, we discussed what most of the world's major media outlets were reporting on China's April 2010 hijack of '15% of Internet traffic,' including sensitive US government and defense sites. The alarm came following a US Government report (see page 244) on China / US economic and security relations released on Tuesday. Unfortunately, few bothered with fact checking or actually reading the report. The actual study never makes any estimate of Internet traffic diverted during the hijack — it only cites a blog post to suggest large volumes of traffic were involved. And curiously, the cited blog at the heart of the report never mentions traffic at all — only routes. You have to go to an interview with a third-party security researcher in a minor trade magazine to first come up with the 15% number (and this article never explains where the number came from). In a review of real data and actual facts, Arbor Nework's Craig Labovitz has a blog post looking at the traffic volumes involved in the incident (only a couple of Gigabits per second, or a 'statistically insignificant' percentage of Internet traffic)."
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Claims About China's April Internet Hijack Are Overblown

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  • Only more Evidence (Score:5, Insightful)

    by x1n933k ( 966581 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @12:02PM (#34282194) Homepage
    That there are fewer and fewer journalist. Now there are only people posting thoughtless articles with little merit in order to entertain and draw traffic/viewers to a web site or channel.

    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Yet, this is what you demand in political journalists. If they don't praise Obama, or fail to ignore it when he talks about the 54 states, you rant and pull out the pitchforks and torches.

      What do you expect to end up with when you shut down all opposing views. Politics is the news leader, and when you screw that up enough, why should you expect the rest of the media to act any differently? You don't want facts, you want a happy meal with apple pie.

      • by x1n933k ( 966581 )
        Actually no, I don't expect this of political journalists at all, especially in regards to Obama since I'm not American.

        There is a less political example of this type of situation involving Steve Wozniak being mis-quoted by a Dutch tabloid newspaper.

        I disagree that Politics is the news leader, but it is the drama that is created to make it a news leader that the mindless are drawn to. My comment was about research and merit that lacks in modern, mainstream journalism. Politicians making extremes back
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Combatso ( 1793216 )
      yeah, I miss the good old days of... uhm.. Murphy Brown?
    • I guess this is the right time to forecast that, once again, quality information is going to cost money?
      • by mysidia ( 191772 )

        The problem is with the traditional media like newspapers... you pay money but a long time ago, they realized that it's less expensive to produce lower quality info, so you pay and still get low quality info; they earn their costs from the advertising, and the reduction in costs due to lower quality info (few quality controls) is pure profit.

        "High quality info" is such a niche market nowadays, that you would have to pay a lot just for the privilege of something that apparently very few people demand and

    • What would make you think it's any worse now? Yellow journalism [] has a long glorious history. It has propped up the drug war for 80 years. By shaping a complacent, submissive public's opinion, it serves the government agenda quite well. Sorry, nothing new to see here. It's the same as it ever was.

  • by goombah99 ( 560566 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @12:04PM (#34282222)

    THe 15% number was just an eye grabber. The point is if a foreign government can redirect even a few messages that it chooses it is not good. Simply doing traffic analysis on the state department will alert people to crises. (they already do that with pizza deliveries to the whitehouse). I'd like to hear more abouthow it's done. is it some sort of DNS poisoning or publishing misleading ford-bellman shortest path info or rARP spoofing?

  • What?!!! A Slashdot summary was wrong? A sensationalist headline was wrong? No one did any fact checking?!!!! Inconceivable!

    This is why Slashdot (News for Nerds) is "news" like Fox News is "news" - it's not. There's no journalistic ethics applied. It's entertainment and maybe occasionally informational.

    • by pitchpipe ( 708843 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @12:17PM (#34282368)

      This is why Slashdot (News for Nerds) is "news" like Fox News is "news" - it's not.

      Maybe. But you'll never see a correction to an overblown sensationalist headline that Fox News put out hit the front page of That's the difference.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bsDaemon ( 87307 )

        Cowboy Neal also cries fewer Crisco tears into his Golden Grams in public than Glen Beck does. That's another (pretty big) difference.

        • Crisco tears into his Golden Grams

          I failed to make sense of this even with an internet search, can you translate for me?

          • I think it is about how Crisco creates a flakier crust (just don't over mix).

          • by bsDaemon ( 87307 )

            Fat people would cry/sweat Crisco which is a common shortning agent used in making high-fat content foods such as some cakes and cookies. It's a fat joke.

            • That's comforting, I thought it might be a reference to Glenn Beck's sexual practices involving his puppets.
      • Impossible, there has to be some way to reconsider what was said to create some light in which it is true. This is slashdot, it can't contain incorrect information. Never has, never will.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 19, 2010 @12:05PM (#34282228)
    Open TCP connections would die when the prefixes were blackholed anyway, and new ones wouldn't establish. It is likely that very little data would actually be exposed, and would mostly come from push-type feeds which use UDP or some other type of data that never needs to be acknowledged. I agree this sounds extremely overblown. This just sounds like another unintentional BGP hijack, not some well-orchestrated event where data was captured. Not to mention that the barriers to using BGP to proxy traffic are much higher than simply blackholing with BGP describes it
    • You'd think if they wanted to capture some sensitive data they could employ some of the normal methods like trying to gain access to a specific system - or at least planting some form of promiscuous reciever/interceptor so they wouldn't get caught within a few minutes.

    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      Open TCP connections would die when the prefixes were blackholed anyway, and new ones wouldn't establish

      Perhaps you are assuming they wouldn't have done one of two things.... (1) maintain the TCP connection by forging acknowledgements. Or (2) drop captured packets off somewhere else on the internet, via tunnels placed strategically to ensure the packet reached its ultimate destination. If they did this, the TCP connections would just experience higher latency, the programs at the endpoints would have

  • ... welcome our new chinese overlords
  • As with most (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jav1231 ( 539129 )
    As with most reports, there's often more to it than is reported and often less. I don't think this gets China "off the hook," though. I'm not a fan of our open relations with China going back years. It's one of the inconsistencies in U.S. foreign policy that irks me. OTOH, I'm not one who thinks "live and let live" extends to governments who have serious human rights concerns. But I digress.

    I would be surprised that the government was letting sensitive data from military branches route out unencrypted. Le
    • I think that china's ballsy move with rare earths is a power play to say "don't fuck with us"

    • "I'm not a fan of our open relations with China going back years."

      Hold it! Are you trying to suggest there's something wrong with sending a Chinese female citizen to the labor camp for re-tweeting a joke?

      Or that using the dead bodies of enslaved political dissidents, after their murders, as a money-making scheme called "The Bodies Exhibit" which the running dogs of capitalism will pay to eat up, is somehow amoral?

      We are brothers.....

  • Maybe one of the new regulations that they mandate should be BGP route origin validation and proper response (filtering the announcement of the specific route in preference of a route with a valid origin bit)?

  • by GPLHost-Thomas ( 1330431 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @12:09PM (#34282274)
    You don't know how many times I have read that all spams are coming from China when they in fact come from USA. I've heard countless times French right wingers saying that France cannot compete with China because of their small work taxes, when in fact taxes in China are sometimes higher than in France. This is just an example. Here, we have more than 30% of the WORLD TRAFFIC that is hijacked by USA absolutely 100% of the time, and with NSA doing deep packet inspection (and not even hiding to do so). Medias in USA should look at their own gov. with suspicion rather than saying bullshit about others without checking!
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by BrokenHalo ( 565198 )
      You don't know how many times I have read that all spams are coming from China when they in fact come from USA.

      This (in my experience) is true. I haven't quantified this figure very recently (I have more useful ways to spend my time, since my anecdotal impression is unchanged), but last time I checked the proportion was over 98%.

      However, the Chinese take the prize in the number of scam sites. I apologise in advance if the following comes across as racist, but sometimes it seems almost as if there is so
    • by thijsh ( 910751 )
      Really 30%? Wow, that's more than I thought... Do you have a source for that traffic statistic? Not that I don't believe it, I just want to repeat bullshit without checking facts like you illustrated. :)
      • Tsss... I'll take that as humor. But just in case anyone think you are serious, let me show my reasoning.

        I can't remember exactly where I could read it, but I did read that there was 30% of all Internet traffic going by California alone. I wonder how that was in fact checked, but had all the reasons in the world to believe it. Now, I wrote "USA" because I thought it was very difficult to check for geographic locations of routes. But that's not it: I do check for it very often myself. I in fact believe tha
        • by thijsh ( 910751 )
          Thanks for explaining. The question remains how much of the traffic is also routed trough ECHELON...
          When you mention California I suspect that the 30% number may have been from an article about the infamous Room 641A.
          • If I'm not mistaking, Echelon is a pretty old technology that does voice recognition on the phone lines, and that works with an agreement with Australia, USA and UK. I don't think Echelon has anything to do with the Internet traffic man in the middle, which might be designated otherwise. Am I wrong here?
            • by thijsh ( 910751 )
              It started as a cold-war system that did what you describe along with some other sigint. But it has since evolved into a worldwide sigint system used by several allies.

              The system known as ECHELON is an interception system which differs from other intelligence systems in that it possesses two features which make it quite unusual:

              The first such feature attributed to it is the capacity to carry out quasi-total surveillance. Satellite receiver stations and spy satellites in particular are alleged to give it the ability to intercept any telephone, fax, Internet or e-mail message sent by any individual and thus to inspect its contents.

              The second unusual feature of ECHELON is said to be that the system operates worldwide on the basis of cooperation proportionate to their capabilities among several states (the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand), giving it an added value in comparison to national systems: the states participating in ECHELON (UKUSA states) can place their interception systems at each otherís disposal, share the cost and make joint use of the resulting information.

              This quote is from this publicly available EU report from 2001 []. The document further explains how sigint has become easier since the internet age, since all information passes trough a small amount of central nodes. They also recommend encrypting all sensitive information (especially data that can be abused in industrial espionage, because a

  • What other total BS stories are out there that we have readily accepted as the truth?
  • Sounded alarmist (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The post that was referred to sounded alarmist in the first place so I doubt most people gave it too much thought.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hackingbear ( 988354 )
      A report to US Congress is not for reporting balanced facts. It is a clever piece of political marketing material to fool you. Especially if the "report" is about China nowaday.
  • by grumpyman ( 849537 ) on Friday November 19, 2010 @12:11PM (#34282300)
    1. China
    2. FUD
    3. ???
    4. Profit!

    PS: Media includes sites such as /.

  • Republicans use Fox.
    Democrats use the Daily Show.
    I use Slashdot comments.

    Everyone has their news sources of choice. I'm fairly certain there is no sure source of information: even your own memory goofs up (see that game "Telephone" from elementary school). We do the best we can. The problem, these days, is that the "trusted" sources of information are going for the excitement factor rather than the truthiness factor. So "Aliens land in LA!" takes precedence over "Mexican immigrants take boat to San Dieg

    • ... So "Aliens land in LA!" takes precedence over "Mexican immigrants take boat to San Diego". ...

      I thought you said the Aliens went to LA?

  • The volume of traffic captured isn't as important as the actual traffic received.

    According to the low volume making it ok, if someone could steal 100 bytes off your 600gb hard drive, you'd be ok with that because it is such a small percentage. If that 100 bytes contained everything needed to use your credit card, would you still feel the same? It's the data that is important, not the volume.

  • Then you should not be using the internet. Honestly if you think your data is so important that even after encrypting you are worried someone might get a hold of it, then you should be using a private network or good old sneaker net.

"Being against torture ought to be sort of a bipartisan thing." -- Karl Lehenbauer