Friday, October 08, 2010

Web Traffic Redirected to China Still a Mystery

Elinor Mills writes on C|Net News:

Six months after Web traffic involving popular U.S. sites and e-mail from computers around the globe was re-directed to Chinese servers unnecessarily, Internet watchers are trying to figure out why it happened and how to prevent future mishaps.

In at least two instances since mid-March, large amounts of traffic on the Internet have been routed to China in circumstances still shrouded in mystery, Rodney Joffe, senior technologist at DNS (Domain Name System) registry Neustar, told CNET in an interview this week.

The first situation happened on March 24, when workers at network operation centers in various parts of the world noticed that traffic to popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and about 20 or 30 others was being redirected to servers in China. This had the result of giving Web surfers in western countries a glimpse of what Chinese Internet users see when they try to access sites that are blocked--error messages indicating that the sites don't exist or censored Chinese-language versions of the sites. It's unknown how long the situation lasted, according to Joffe.

The next month, something similar happened on April 8. In this case, 37,000 routes, or paths to groups of Internet Protocol addresses--representing about 10 percent of the total routes--were diverted through servers in China for 17 minutes, Joffe said.

More here.


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