China Internet 'hijack' called exaggeration: Researcher

10:11, November 22, 2010      

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The accusation by a US congressional committee that China Telecom "hijacked" Internet traffic is "hugely exaggerated" in scale and intent, according to the Internet security company Arbor Networks.

A blogging writing by Arbor chief scientist Craig Labovitz said that the unusual routing diversion through China Telecom at 4 am GMT on April 8, this year, could have amounted to as much as 15 percent of Internet traffic.

A redirection of a major portion of Internet traffic would have been expected to have either boosted or reduced traffic volumes, depending on the scale of increase in traffic to China Telecom or the decrease in volume to other ISPs. Neither appeared to happen on big scale, the blog said.

It's a crude calculation but it does pour more cold water in the headline-grabbing suggestion that China Telecom grabbed 15 percent of the entire Internet and all that entails in the minds of Congressional report writers.

"We need to fix Internet infrastructure security, but we also need to be precise in our analysis of the problems," comments Labovitz.

A BGPmon note at the time of the April routing played down the likelihood that the 8 April event was anything other than "fat fingers" on the part of a China Telecom engineer, while expressing concern that it happened at all.

"Given the large number of prefixes and short interval I don't believe this is an intentional hijack," said the BGPmon researcher in an analysis.

Source: Agencies / People's Daily Online


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