Nov 13, 2018

Google traffic suspiciously routed through China and Russia

Photo: PhotoTalk/Getty

Google apps' web traffic was mysteriously routed through Russia and China on Monday.

Why it matters: Some security experts believe this may have been an attack on one of the internet's core networking protocols.

Yes, but: It could also have been caused by something as simple as a typo in Russia or China. The internet is fragile.

What is clear is that on Monday, something was horribly amiss in the border gateway protocol (BGP).

  • Not all internet and web service providers can talk to each other, and BGP lets various networks coordinate the quickest path from point A to point B.
  • On Monday, through some accident or intentional attack, the internet began to believe that the fastest way to Google was through a server in Russia and a server in China regardless of where the traffic originated from. The China server ceased all the traffic sent its way, making Google Cloud briefly appear to be out.

What is not clear is whether this was an intentional attack. Given the countries involved, it's very possible it was, although due to the way internet traffic is encrypted, China would have needed to let the internet traffic through to Google to do full-throttle surveillance.

  • BGP routing errors can and frequently are caused by simple mistakes. This could be a mistake. It's impossible to definitively say.

Go deeper

Coronavirus updates: Market ends worst week since financial crisis

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The stock market ended its worst week since the financial crisis, prompting the Fed to release a statement. Meanwhile, the WHO warned that countries are losing their chance to contain the novel coronavirus and raised its global risk assessment to "very high" Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed more than 2,860 people and infected more than 84,000 others in over 60 countries and territories outside the epicenter in mainland China. The number of new cases reported outside China now exceed those inside the country.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

California coronavirus: Latest case has no recent history of international travel

Gov. Gavin Newsom. Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

A new case of the novel coronavirus in California was announced on Friday after Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday that 33 people had tested positive for the virus, noting the risk to the public remains low.

What's new: An adult woman with chronic health conditions in Santa Clara County who "did not recently travel overseas" or come into contact with anyone known to be ill was confirmed to have contracted the coronavirus on Friday by CDC and California Department of Public Health officials.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health

Big video game conference delayed amid coronavirus concerns

Photo: GDC

Next month's Game Developers Conference in San Francisco became the latest tech event to be cancelled or postponed amid growing concerns over the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The big picture: A growing number of events are being scrapped, including Mobile World Congress and Facebook's F8 developer conference. Some, like the giant SXSW event in Austin, insist they are moving forward.