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Thread: For 2 hours, much #European mobile traffic was rerouted through #China - It was China Telecom, again. The same ISP accused last year of hijacking the vital internet backbone of western countries for Chinese intelligence gathering - Via @code_blind zdnet.com/article/for-tw…
For more than two hours on Thursday, June 6, a large chunk of European mobile traffic was rerouted through the infrastructure of China Telecom, China's third-largest telco and internet service provider (ISP).
The incident occurred because of a BGP route leak at Swiss data center colocation company Safe Host, which accidentally leaked over 70,000 routes from its internal routing table to the Chinese ISP.
The Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), used to reroute traffic at the ISP level, is known to be problematic, & BGP leaks happen often. However, there are safeguards and safety procedures that providers usually set up to prevent BGP route leaks from influencing each other's networks.
But instead of ignoring the BGP leak, China Telecom re-announced Safe Host's routes as its own, and by doing so, interposed itself as one of the shortest ways to reach Safe Host's network and other nearby European telcos and ISPs.
For 2 hours, until China Telecom operators realized what they have done, traffic meant for many European mobile networks was rerouted through China Telecom's network.
"Some of the most impacted European networks included Swisscom (AS3303) of Switzerland, KPN (AS1130) of Holland, and Bouygues Telecom (AS5410) and Numericable-SFR (AS21502) of France," said Doug Madory, Director of Oracle's Internet Analysis division (formerly Dyn).
"Often routing incidents like this last for a few minutes, but in this case many of the leaked routes in this incident were in circulation for over 2 hours". For the users on the affected mobile network, this manifested as slow connections or inability to connect to some servers.
"Today's incident shows that the internet has not solved the problem of BGP route leaks. It also reveals that China Telecom, a major international carrier, has not implemented basic routing safeguards to prevent propagation of routing leaks or procedures to detect & fix them.
"Two hours is a long time for a routing leak of this magnitude to stay in circulation, degrading global communications." But if any other ISP would have caused this incident, it would have likely been ignored. Alas, it was China Telecom, and there's a backstory.
An academic paper published by experts from the US Naval War College and Tel Aviv University in October last year blamed China Telecom for "hijacking the vital internet backbone of western countries."
The report argued that the Chinese government was using local ISPs for intelligence gathering by systematically hijacking BGP routes to reroute western traffic through its country, where it can log it for later analysis.
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