Security experts around the globe are currently trying to unravel a mysterious networking error that saw Web traffic to sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube rerouted to Chinese servers.
CNet reports that on Wednesday, a Chilean DNS admin sent out an email to his counterparts in the rest of the world asking them about a strange problem a local ISP had noticed. The ISP said one of the main DNS root servers, called the I Root Server and operated in Sweden, was directing visitors endeavoring to access up to 30 different sites, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to servers in China. Because people were being redirected to China, they ended up behind the Great Firewall of China.
It's no secret that China has changed DNS routing information to redirect users of censored services to government-run servers instead of sites such as Facebook and Twitter, however, ComputerWorld reports that this is the first public disclosure that those route have leaked outside of China. Citing Danny McPherson, a chief security officer with Arbor Networks, CW reports that the rerouting was probably an accident. McPherson says the ISP that used the bad routes probably misconfigured its BGP (Border Gateway Protocol) system.
"I don't think it was done intentionally," he told ComputerWorld. "This is an example of how easy it is for this information to be contaminated or corrupted or leaked out beyond the boundaries of what it was supposed to be."