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Google went down after traffic was routed through China and Russian Federation

15 November, 2018, 20:09 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Wrong Way sign Shutterstock Phil Hill

The company noted that it had caused a 74-minute glitch by misconfiguring a border gateway protocol filter used to route traffic across the internet.

Google described the issue as "Google Cloud IP addresses being erroneously advertised by internet service providers other than Google".

Google told the Wall Street Journal that users' data was not compromised, adding that "and that the company has no reason to believe that the incident was malicious".

"While setting up a new interconnection, the Nigerian ISP nearly certainly inadvertently leaked the routing information to China Telecom who then leaked it out to the rest of the world", said Prince added.

Network monitoring company ThousandEyes spotted traffic going to Google Cloud was taking the wrong route, and called the incident a "potential hijack".

"We're aware that a portion of internet traffic was affected by incorrect routing of IP addresses, and access to some Google services was impacted", a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement.


"We will conduct an internal investigation of this issue and make appropriate improvements to our systems to help prevent or minimise future recurrence", Google said. Overall ThousandEyes detected over 180 prefixes affected by this route leak, which covers a vast scope of Google services.

"This incident further underscores one of the fundamental weaknesses in the fabric of the internet", said Naik. "If this could happen to a company with the scale and resources available that Google has, realize it could happen to anyone".

The vulnerability exploited is built into the internet, which was designed for collaboration by trusted parties not competition by hostile nation-states. "However, this also put valuable Google traffic in the hands of ISPs in countries with a long history of Internet surveillance".

Most network traffic to Google services - 94 percent as of October 27 - is encrypted, which shields it from prying eyes even if diverted.

Google confirms Monday's disruption and says it believes the cause was external. But it's still not good news as some businesses that are big into Google's G Suite were left twiddling their thumbs for some time.

Indeed, the phenomenon has occurred before. In perhaps the best-known case, Pakistan Telecom inadvertently hijacked YouTube's global traffic in 2008 for a few hours when it was trying to enforce a domestic ban. That resulted in some Google traffic being sent through MainOne partner China Telecom. This past April, another hijacking enabled cryptocurrency theft.

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