The cyber war between China and the U.S. just got colder. Twice this year, China demonstrated its ability to “substantially manipulate” the Internet. During the first incident, traffic headed to 15 percent of the world’s websites was redirected through Chinese servers for about 20 minutes.
The high-level hijacking included bits and bytes headed for the U.S. Senate, the Army, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, the Secretary of Defense, NASA and other government offices, along with commercial entities like Dell, Yahoo, Microsoft and IBM.
Chinese officials disputed the findings but several technology firms said they charted the hijacking in April. Each incident demonstrates a capability that could possibly be used for malicious purposes.
The internet is a very vulnerable creation. These incidents, serve as a wake-up call for U.S. authorities, who need to insist on security upgrades to protect U.S. interests, said Dmitri Alperovitch, a security researcher with McAfee. His firm supplied the U.S. government with a list of 53,000 websites that were hijacked for 18 minutes on April 8.
“This is a troubling development. It could be innocuous, and China is claiming it’s an accident, but this has a pretty wide-ranging set of implications,” he said. “That traffic could be eavesdropped upon.”
The report comes near the end of a tumultuous year for China and the Internet. As we are all aware. Beijing had a very public dispute with Google early in the year, and China was ultimately accused of spying on Google employees. It was also accused of a plot to use the internet to spy on the Dalai Lama.
The spokesman of China Telecom Corp. Ltd. denied any hijack of internet traffic,” Chinese officials said in statement e-mailed Tuesday to the Reuters news service. This is not the first time route announcements led to World Wide Web trouble. In 2008, Pakistani censorship efforts of YouTube went awry, leading to a temporary blackout of the video service. In 2004, Turkish servers accidentally told the world that all Web traffic should travel through its borders; widespread outages followed.
Scary! China is even owning the internet! We’re getting OWNED!