Sunday, November 28, 2010

China's "hijacking" of global Internet raises security alarms

PBS's Newshour had a disturbingly eye-opening story focusing on state-run Chinese entities deliberately detouring Internet traffic through their sites:
RAY SUAREZ: When all the communications from tens of thousand of computer networks was routed to China, that included all the Web traffic, e-mail, and instant messages to and from -- that's the Department of Defense -- and -- those are U.S. governments departments. The U.S. Senate and NASA also had all their traffic diverted.

Companies like Dell, Yahoo!, Microsoft and IBM had their data diverted by China Telecom, too. On that day in April, officers logging into a Pentagon Web site ended up looking at an image that came to their screen via China.

It's not clear what China did with the Internet traffic routed through its computers, and it's not clear if the data that passed through China was saved to be examined later.
The piece explains for the layperson (that's me!) how this works:
RAY SUAREZ: Normally, the Internet works by swiftly finding the shortest, most efficient trip between two computers anywhere on Earth.

Electronic routers direct the traffic flow, insuring the shortest path, like these green lines here. But, back in April, electronic communication looking for the shortest route was sent through China.

Watch the red line. For 18 minutes, the traffic on 35,000 to 50,000 computer networks elsewhere in the world began flowing toward China, before getting routed to their final destinations. China Telecom had created a massive detour.

But traffic didn't stop. The affected computer connections took just a tiny fraction of a second longer. Whether someone was logging into check a bank balance, sending a child's photo to grandma, or shopping online, the Net still worked. ...

RAY SUAREZ: One of the architects of the modern Internet, Rodney Joffe, said this diversion was a very big deal. He says it was caused when computer routers in China belonging to China Telecom began signaling to other computer routers on the Internet that they could provide the quickest path between different computers .

RODNEY JOFFE: They, all of a sudden, began announcing the fact that they were an optimal path to about 15 percent of the destinations on the Internet, that, in fact, they were a way to get to a large number of destinations on the Internet, when, in fact, they were not. We have never seen that before on this scale ever.
I've been saying this more and more: "Welcome back to the Cold War." Or maybe we never left.

1 comment:

  1. The cold war never ended. It's just that the US has been distracted for by the wars it is fighting for Israel's benefit in the Middle East. This is exactly why I have been against the entangling alliance with Israel. Now we can see the results of the NeoCon's dual loyalty issues.

    The main threat to the US has always been a great power like China, not a few guys with suicide bombs who are protesting the US-Israel entangling alliance. Now where does the US find itself? With no industrial base. In debt to China. Unable to establish air superiority in Asia (thanks to China's J-10 fighter which uses Israeli supplied Lavi fighter technology). With a currency in meltdown. Without any global clout. With virtually no potential for economic growth.

    Oh, and now the US is powerless to respond to N.Korean aggression because China is threatening any use of American aircraft carriers in the Yellow Sea.

    Marvelous! Thanks NeoCons! Hey, at least Israel's been able to expand its illegal settlements as a result of your policies! America? Oh well, it was destined to collapse anyway.


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