China Has Hijacked U.S.-Based Internet Traffic

Discussion in 'User Submitted News' started by soulx, Nov 17, 2010.

  1. soulx
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    soulx GBAtemp Legend

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    For 18 minutes in April, China’s state-controlled telecommunications company hijacked 15 percent of the world’s Internet traffic, including data from U.S. military, civilian organizations and those of other U.S. allies.

    This massive redirection of data has received scant attention in the mainstream media because the mechanics of how the hijacking was carried out and the implications of the incident are difficult for those outside the cybersecurity community to grasp, said a top security expert at McAfee, the world’s largest dedicated Internet security company.

    In short, the Chinese could have carried out eavesdropping on unprotected communications — including emails and instant messaging — manipulated data passing through their country or decrypted messages, Dmitri Alperovitch, vice president of threat research at McAfee said.

    Nobody outside of China can say, at least publicly, what happened to the terabytes of data after the traffic entered China.

    The incident may receive more attention when the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a congressional committee, releases its annual report on the bilateral relationship Nov. 17. A commission press release said the 2010 report will address “the increasingly sophisticated nature of malicious computer activity associated with China.”

    Said Alperovitch: “This is one of the biggest — if not the biggest hijacks — we have ever seen.” And it could happen again, anywhere and anytime. It’s just the way the Internet works, he explained. “What happened to the traffic while it was in China? No one knows.”

    The telephone giants of the world work on a system based on trust, he explained. Machine-to-machine interfaces send out messages to the Internet informing other service providers that they are the fastest and most efficient way for data packets to travel. For 18 minutes April 8, China Telecom Corp. told many ISPs of the world that its routes were the best paths to send traffic.

    For example, a person sending information from Arlington, Va., to the White House in Washington, D.C. — only a few miles away — could have had his data routed through China. Since traffic moves around the world in milliseconds, the computer user would not have noticed the delay.

    This happens accidentally a few times per year, Alperovitch said. What set this incident apart from other such mishaps was the fact that China Telecom could manage to absorb this large amount of data and send it back out again without anyone noticing a disruption in service. In previous incidents, the data would have reached a dead end, and users would not have been able to connect.

    Also, the list of hijacked data just happened to include preselected destinations around the world that encompassed military, intelligence and many civilian networks in the United States and other allies such as Japan and Australia, he said. “Why would you keep that list?” Alperovitch asked.

    The incident involved 15 percent of Internet traffic, he stressed. The amount of data included in all these packets is difficult to calculate. The data could have been stored so it could be examined later, he added. “Imagine the capability and capacity that is built into their networks. I’m not sure there was anyone else in the world who could have taken on that much traffic without breaking a sweat,” Alperovitch said.

    McAfee has briefed U.S. government officials on the incident, but they were not alarmed. They said their Internet communications are encrypted. However, encryption also works on a basis of trust, McAfee experts pointed out. And that trust can be exploited.

    Internet encryption depends on two keys. One key is private and not shared, and the other is public, and is embedded in most computer operating systems. Unknown to most computer users, Microsoft, Apple and other software makers embed the public certificates in their operating systems. They also trust that this system won’t be abused.

    Among the certificates is one from the China Internet Information Center, an arm of the China’s Ministry of Information and Industry.

    “If China telecom intercepts that [encrypted message] and they are sitting on the middle of that, they can send you their public key with their public certificate and you will not know any better,” he said. The holder of this certificate has the capability to decrypt encrypted communication links, whether it’s web traffic, emails or instant messaging, Alperovitch said. “It is a flaw in the way the Internet operates,” said Yoris Evers, director of worldwide public relations at McAfee.

    No one outside of China can say whether any of these potentially nefarious events occurred, Alperovitch noted. “It did not make mainstream news because it is so esoteric and hard to understand,” he added. It is not defined as a cyberattack because no sites were hacked or shut down. “But it is pretty disconcerting.”

    And the hijacking took advantage of the way the Internet operates. “It can happen again. They can do it tomorrow or they can do it in an hour. And the same problem will occur again.”[/p]

    [​IMG] Source

    Scary.
     
  2. Recorderdude

    Recorderdude Musician, Animator, Buffoon.

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    In communist china, internet hacks YOU!

    But really, it was just a couple of high school students grabbing terabytes of U.S. porn, nothing to worry about.
     
  3. Sterling

    Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

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    Well, let's just suck it up and prevent it from happening again.
     
  4. cwstjdenobs

    cwstjdenobs Sodomy non sapiens

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    I don't think you could, not without breaking a very important part of what TCP/IP does.
     
  5. ollepoll

    ollepoll GBAtemp Regular

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    Lol [​IMG]

    Not my problem, so leave it be
     
  6. Sterling

    Sterling GBAtemp's Silver Hero

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    I guess we'd better get to cracking then. [​IMG]
     
  7. Overlord Nadrian

    Overlord Nadrian Banned

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    China = win.
     
  8. ollepoll

    ollepoll GBAtemp Regular

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    you=spam?



    I think china is the worlds worst country to live in;
    no right to say anything, no right to do anything
     
  9. cwstjdenobs

    cwstjdenobs Sodomy non sapiens

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    Though I wouldn't get too paranoid about this. It could easily have been an accident and there's no mention that they tried to hide this in any way. While it might be slightly suspicious that they handled that amount of traffic so easily remember that their net infrastructure is amazingly new, and the majority of the population still subsistence farmers.
     
  10. Overlord Nadrian

    Overlord Nadrian Banned

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    Pretty much, yeah.

    Seriously though, I meant that China has total control over the world, but most people don't know it yet.



    Get ready for some eye-squinting.
     
  11. ollepoll

    ollepoll GBAtemp Regular

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    so next year=china nuke vs. Amercian Nuke?

    I am lucky that I live in Europe
     
  12. playallday

    playallday Group: GBAtemp Ghost

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    China is more powerful then you think. Also, I'm sure the United States does this kind of stuff, you just don't hear about it because they hide it better.
     
  13. Jamstruth

    Jamstruth Secondary Feline Anthropomorph

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    Meh, if they nuke each other we'll suffer too. We import a lot from both countries.
     
  14. ollepoll

    ollepoll GBAtemp Regular

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    livestyle change because of nuke < getting nuked personally.


    I think that we can import everything from africa and the rest of asia if they don't supply us with tech any more



    offtopic: Why is there no videogame where you play against china yet?


    [irony] and it is a solution for world population problems [/irony]^^
     
  15. playallday

    playallday Group: GBAtemp Ghost

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    .
     
    Last edited by playallday, Jun 22, 2015
  16. ollepoll

    ollepoll GBAtemp Regular

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    Aren't many of them also from india and africa?
     
  17. Bunie

    Bunie #1 Princess

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    nobody is going to prevent it. theres not even proof it happened. [​IMG]
     
  18. Clydefrosch

    Clydefrosch GBAtemp Psycho!

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    so what, they saved a few bytes of passwords and important military data and a few petabytes of porn. who cares?

    by the time they censored the porn, the other stuff will be completely worthless
     
  19. ollepoll

    ollepoll GBAtemp Regular

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    Are you aware how many important data goes via the internet atm.

    Maybe they won't be able to use this data, but all banks, military, national security and the governement uses it permanently
     
  20. Law

    Law rip ninjacat that zarcon made me

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    What are the bets that this guy has a community college degree and doesn't actually know anything about computers?