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The Day China Diverted the Internet

Posted on Nov 18, 2010
Flickr / Tim Yang (CC-BY)

For 18 minutes last April 8, as much as 15 percent of the world’s Internet traffic was rerouted through Chinese servers, according to a U.S. commission, which said the diverted data included communications from Congress and the U.S. military.

The United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission’s annual report casts suspicion on China, but also acknowledges, “Evidence related to this incident does not clearly indicate whether it was perpetrated intentionally and, if so, to what ends.”

China denies any malicious intent.

New York Times:

The report, by the United States-China Economic and Security Review Commission, noted that the service provider, IDC China Telecommunication, broadcast inaccurate Web traffic routes for about 18 minutes on April 8. That information was then retransmitted by China’s state-owned China Telecommunications, effectively forcing data from the United States and other countries to pass through Chinese computer servers. A similar episode in March drew less attention.

The report said the move affected data traveling over both the government and military networks of the United States, including information from the Senate, the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, the secretary of defense’s office, NASA, the Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as from many American companies.

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By Jim Effect, February 5, 2012 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment

I am sure that this news story would fuel even more conspiracy theories about the dark side of governments around the world and the spy espionage that goes around our back. I cannot explain why there was a re-routing of traffic into china’s server, but we definitely cannot do anything about it. Hackers there are so good, much of our own security systems have no way to defend themselves. One possible effect of this news is just an increase in international tension, and its not something we have not seen before.

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By Data Centre Design, August 2, 2011 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

It should come as no surprise to anyone, least of all computer security experts that this kind of data hijacking is not only possible it’s really quite simple. True, it’s one of the hacks that is easy to detect, but that all comes after the fact, when it might be too late to keep some information from being intercepted.

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By Jim Effect, July 29, 2011 at 1:02 am Link to this comment

The Guardian also published an article about the so-called ‘hijack’, but it is an accusation that China Telecom vehemently rejects. Truth is China already has access to at least 10% of global internet traffic, which may or may not include government-level sensitive emails, but hey, China is the only country that can bend backwards and forwards a company like Google, so either China is really innocent, or a lapse in security has to be looked into, and fast.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 19, 2010 at 9:39 pm Link to this comment

Oh, and Korea.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 19, 2010 at 9:38 pm Link to this comment

“How many independent country have they invaded a la Iraq, AfPak, Yemen, etc…?  “


None.  Unless you count Viet Nam and Cambodia.

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By Hobomike, November 19, 2010 at 3:30 pm Link to this comment

No worries! It was mostly porn.

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By Mr Ed, November 18, 2010 at 8:49 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

NYT did not get the story right.  The Internet is not connected by servers but by
high speed WAN devices.  In addition, networks are physically connected with fiber
optic.  Sometimes fiber cables do get cut and rerouting occurs.  This may explain
why the internet “traffic” all of a sudden ended up in China.

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By Gladio, November 18, 2010 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

STOP always painting China as the bad guy !

I would much rather live under Chinese rule than ‘meriKan occupation.

They played our capitalist game… and won.

How many independent country have they invaded a la Iraq, AfPak, Yemen, etc…?  (please don’t talk to me about secessionist provinces, i.e. Tibet; that’s apples and oranges, that is not an independent distinct country, it is an autonomous yet under the sovereignty of China province [ever since the anglo invaders were kicked out]).

I wouldn’t be too crazy about earning their low wages but at least everyone has a job, health care and the basic necessities…  what ‘bout ‘meriKa?

How many torture camps does China have?  Please name and document them…  gitmo anyone?

where is China’s equivalent of Gaza and ‘meriKa zionists uber alles attitude?

etc, etc…

It’s not Mao’s China anymore…  these are mostly propaganda images implanted in our minds.

Go there and visit.  In parts it is still backwards, but in others it is extremely modern, clean and gives you the feeling that it’s ‘meriKa that is lightyears behind.

I can’t wait till China finds a way to destroy the ‘meriKan beast which we, ourselves, by so-called democratic means, have never been able to tame.

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