Researchers discover China has at least ten PoPs it uses to hijack internet infrastructure

Cal Jeffrey

TS Evangelist
Staff member

According to a paper by the US Naval War College and Tel Aviv University, China has been hijacking the internet backbone of western countries since 2015. The study was published in the academic journal Military Cyber Affairs.

It asserts that China Telecom, one of the country’s leading internet service providers and phone companies has been using points-of-presence (PoP) to perform man-in-the-middle interceptions. CNET explains that a PoP is merely a data center that re-routes traffic between the smaller networks that make up the internet.

Internet traffic travels through these autonomous systems (AS) using the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP). Unfortunately, the BGP has no real security features, and it is not challenging to intercept data by announcing a malicious route. This is called a BGP hijack, and it occurs frequently. However, in most instances, the hijack is due to a misconfiguration rather than malicious intent and is therefore corrected within minutes or hours.

According to the researchers, the communist state has been using China Telecom purposefully to conduct BGP hijacking. It started doing this in 2015 in earnest shortly after signing an agreement under the Obama administration that was intended to halt the government-backed cyber theft of intellectual property.

“This necessitated new ways to get information while still technically adhering to the agreement,” the researchers wrote. “Since the agreement only covered military activities, Chinese corporate state champions could be tasked with taking up the slack. Enter China Telecom.”

The study has tracked the BGP abuse by building a system that traces and monitors BGP announcements. Using this system, they can identify patterns that suggest deliberate hijacking.

They have been able to track down a total of ten PoPs being used to carry out the attacks — eight in the United States and two in Canada. These points-of-presence have been covertly built over the course of several years beginning in the early 2000s.

“Using these numerous PoPs, [China Telecom] has already relatively seamlessly hijacked the domestic US and cross-US traffic and redirected it to China over days, weeks, and months,” the study found. “While one may argue such attacks can always be explained by 'normal' BGP behavior, these, in particular, suggest malicious intent, precisely because of their unusual transit characteristics -namely the lengthened routes and the abnormal durations.”

The researchers call for immediate action to be taken to take the rogue nodes down.

“The prevalence of and demonstrated ease with which one can simply redirect and copy data by controlling key transit nodes buried in a nation's infrastructure requires an urgent policy response.”

Image via Military Cyber Affairs

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toooooot

TS Evangelist
It is sad. It is sad that the developed countries support this regime by sharing their tech and financing their infrastructure.
 
US is ran by religious *****s, China at least acknowledges global warming so I'm on their side. I'm for facts and science, believes have no place in politics. I bet I'm not alone in cheering their future global domination.
 
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It is sad. It is sad that the developed countries support this regime by sharing their tech and financing their infrastructure.
One of the problems is all electronics are made in china and there's no alternative. I would buy Japan and German made stuff but they moved their factories to china. I would pay more for the worker to get humane salary but no one offers that option. Only couple of switch and audio component makers remain.
 

tomkaten

TS Maniac
That's cause people don't want to spend car money on an electronic device and don't really care about technological advancements any more. The masses want good enough, cheap enough and easy to use and to replace. It's unfortunate, but that's what it is.

I'm in Europe and recently I was looking for a TV set made in Japan. I found ONE store that had them listed, but no products in stock. And the listed price was... scary. A 40 inch CCFL LCD TV was around 1500 euro. The "Chinese" devices with those specs can be had for a fifth of that price, if not less.

The veterans here will surely remember what a Germany or Japan-made VHS player would sell for back in the day... Scary numbers.

Sure, it would be great to have a choice, but when you barely sell any products, eventually you just pack up and go with the flow.
 
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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Until there is an organized effort by the free world to isolate China and other participants it will continue. That includes the removal of all "China Made" electronics, blocking of Chinese web traffic, and possibly and effective "Stuxnet" typle application that can effectively be launched against the offending web sites.
 

Evernessince

TS Evangelist
Until there is an organized effort by the free world to isolate China and other participants it will continue. That includes the removal of all "China Made" electronics, blocking of Chinese web traffic, and possibly and effective "Stuxnet" typle application that can effectively be launched against the offending web sites.
I honestly don't know why Internet sanctions aren't a thing yet. Blocking Chinese online commerce and communications should be a viable punishment.
 
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Adorerai

TS Enthusiast
US is ran by religious *****s, China at least acknowledges global warming so I'm on their side. I'm for facts and science, believes have no place in politics. I bet I'm not alone in cheering their future global domination.
Just to be clear, meteorology and climatology are soft sciences unlike physics and chemistry which are hard sciences.

"In some cases, systematic observation using the scientific method is a relatively straightforward process which can be easily replicated by others. In other cases, objective observation and replication can be difficult if not impossible." soft vs hard

The catastrophic effects of global warming has been predicted for several decades. Each time we're given a 10 year timeframe before we are doomed.

Growing up 30 years ago we were taught paper bags are bad and plastic was the way to go. That idea has been scrapped in this decade. Now we tax the use of plastic bags.

It's not really even presented as global warming anymore politically. It's more common to use the term climate change. Probably because the prediction of the warming destroying us as turned into the next ice age.

It takes belief and faith to hold on to those end of the world ideas. Based on those beliefs we contiue to look for the true answer. That hasn't been found yet.

Science is definitely the way to go, but when you have garbage in, you get garbage out.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Just to be clear, meteorology and climatology are soft sciences unlike physics and chemistry which are hard sciences.
Yes, climatology and meteorology are soft sciences - primarily because there are so many variables that it is difficult to predict outcomes. That should not, however, prevent science from making the attempt to better understand those sciences.

"In some cases, systematic observation using the scientific method is a relatively straightforward process which can be easily replicated by others. In other cases, objective observation and replication can be difficult if not impossible." soft vs hard
True - especially in climatology and meteorology because of the number of variables involved.

The catastrophic effects of global warming has been predicted for several decades. Each time we're given a 10 year timeframe before we are doomed
It does not mean that changes are not happening, and that we should simply abandon research and observation.

As I see it, it also does not mean that we should throw caution to the wind and continue to pollute and pretend as if humanity can do nothing bad to the environment, and especially so using a religious fallacy such as God said he would not smite the earth again - such as spouted by Mitch McConnell.

Growing up 30 years ago we were taught paper bags are bad and plastic was the way to go. That idea has been scrapped in this decade. Now we tax the use of plastic bags.
So? That is, of course, the way of science in that true science is based on continuous learning, and through continuous learning, continuous improvement.

It's not really even presented as global warming anymore politically. It's more common to use the term climate change. Probably because the prediction of the warming destroying us as turned into the next ice age.
The Trump administration has scrubbed all references to climate change from government web sites.

It takes belief and faith to hold on to those end of the world ideas. Based on those beliefs we contiue to look for the true answer. That hasn't been found yet.
Excuse me? Science continually looks for answers even if it does not understand what those answers are or what those answers mean. Take, for instance, understanding the exact mechanisms behind superconductivity.

Likewise, science continues to look for answers and understanding of the environment.

One thing can be said with relative certainty is that humanity has exuded a considerable amount of pollutants into the environment. Plastics, for instance, are literally found everywhere at this point in time.

Faith and belief, on the other hand, posit that God will come and save us all.

Science is definitely the way to go, but when you have garbage in, you get garbage out.
And again, that is what science is about - continuous learning. Science has come to points in the past where the garbage, once recognized, is removed from the equation. I expect science will continue to do so in the future.
 
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Evernessince

TS Evangelist
Just to be clear, meteorology and climatology are soft sciences unlike physics and chemistry which are hard sciences.

"In some cases, systematic observation using the scientific method is a relatively straightforward process which can be easily replicated by others. In other cases, objective observation and replication can be difficult if not impossible." soft vs hard

The catastrophic effects of global warming has been predicted for several decades. Each time we're given a 10 year timeframe before we are doomed.

Growing up 30 years ago we were taught paper bags are bad and plastic was the way to go. That idea has been scrapped in this decade. Now we tax the use of plastic bags.

It's not really even presented as global warming anymore politically. It's more common to use the term climate change. Probably because the prediction of the warming destroying us as turned into the next ice age.

It takes belief and faith to hold on to those end of the world ideas. Based on those beliefs we contiue to look for the true answer. That hasn't been found yet.

Science is definitely the way to go, but when you have garbage in, you get garbage out.
Climate change isn't a belief. We have years of data measuring the temperature of the oceans, arctic and all around the world.

"It's more common to use the term climate change. Probably because the prediction of the warming destroying us as turned into the next ice age."

It was changed from global warming to climate change when scientists realized that not only will it get hotter but we will also get more extreme weather. This can exaggerate the typical weather cycle and increase the number of storms, like what the US has seen this year.

FYI we aren't getting garbage in. You are just taking doomsayers words and exaggerating them as if they were the only ones saying anything about global warming. Let me give you a tip, stop getting your science news from 2nd hand media and go directly to the source next time. A vast majority of peer reviewed papers will provide unbiased fact and you can draw your own conclusions from them.
 
S

senketsu

Growing up 30 years ago we were taught paper bags are bad and plastic was the way to go. That idea has been scrapped in this decade. Now we tax the use of plastic bags.
So? That is, of course, the way of science in that true science is based on continuous learning, and through continuous learning, continuous improvement.
It takes belief and faith to hold on to those end of the world ideas. Based on those beliefs we contiue to look for the true answer. That hasn't been found yet.
Excuse me? Science continually looks for answers even if it does not understand what those answers are or what those answers mean. Take, for instance, understanding the exact mechanisms behind superconductivity.
Likewise, science continues to look for answers and understanding of the environment.
Faith and belief, on the other hand, posit that God will come and save us all.
Science is definitely the way to go, but when you have garbage in, you get garbage out.
And again, that is what science is about - continuous learning. Science has come to points in the past where the garbage, once recognized, is removed from the equation. I expect science will continue to do so in the future.
I get the impression "Faith and belief" are inextricably linked with vague notions of God while on the other hand "Science and facts" are inextricably linked with THE TRUTH. IMHO science is only a tool that allows us to do and investigate things and the determination of Ultimate Truth is not (so far) one of them.
Science has its own suppositions and beliefs which you must take on faith to even do science. One example is that the scientific method is founded on the premise that knowledge (Ultimate Truth) can ONLY be arrived at empirically. This is not proven, but is a base science must work on.
There is also "the problem of history" in science. Theories and supposed facts are in fact found to be false regularly and changed. What is the moments' scientific truth is later found to be false and in error.
do some reading and study on philosophy of science. I could wear out my keyboard with more examples, but I'm stopping.
 
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Outlander04

TS Rookie
Snowden revealed years ago that the US was intercepting all phone calls and internet traffic in Europe . Presumably using similar methods . Both there and probably elsewhere in the world .
Good to see China is not being left behind
 

avioza

TS Maniac
Snowden revealed years ago that the US was intercepting all phone calls and internet traffic in Europe . Presumably using similar methods . Both there and probably elsewhere in the world .
Good to see China is not being left behind
Yeah I was thinking that was one of the things Snowden exposed in US defense practices because he thought it was wrong. The difference is, China thought it was a good idea and isn't going to apologize or be sorry for it, they will only work to perfect it and use it to best strategic advantage. With a different cultural ideology, if there was a whistle-blower in China no one would care.

China is an interesting experiment in a communist led capitalist economy that the western powers did not expect to succeed, as they invested in their infrastructure and economy the idea was that wealth would bring change politically. Not this time, it has created an interesting situation.

The party ideology needle is swinging back from free capitalism toward harder control now under Xi. It has gone back and forth before but now China is the worlds second largest economy.
 

jobeard

TS Ambassador
BGP specifically the TCP clients and servers are routers. When the “client” router initiates the BGP session is sends a request to the server with a destination port of 179 and a random source port X. The server then responds with a source port of 179 and a destination port of X.

  • Therefore all client to server traffic uses destination 179,
  • while all server to client traffic uses source 179
 

Outlander04

TS Rookie
Yeah I was thinking that was one of the things Snowden exposed in US defense practices because he thought it was wrong. The difference is, China thought it was a good idea and isn't going to apologize or be sorry for it, they will only work to perfect it and use it to best strategic advantage. With a different cultural ideology, if there was a whistle-blower in China no one would care.

China is an interesting experiment in a communist led capitalist economy that the western powers did not expect to succeed, as they invested in their infrastructure and economy the idea was that wealth would bring change politically. Not this time, it has created an interesting situation.

The party ideology needle is swinging back from free capitalism toward harder control now under Xi. It has gone back and forth before but now China is the worlds second largest economy.
It's not like the US stopped doing this when they were exposed . Making the US government no different in the way it treats its citizens than China
 
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