Attacks/Breaches
11/24/2010
01:16 PM
Connect Directly
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Schwartz On Security: China's Internet Hijacking Misread

Core Internet security concerns aren't as sexy as hyping Chinese attacks, but concern over the potential assault is misplaced and distracts from the need to fix what's really broken.

If China launches online attacks against the United States -- for example, diverting 15% of the Internet for a period of 18 minutes -- that demands a response.

Of course, a recent Congressional commission report accused China of having "'hijacked' massive volumes of Internet traffic," including government, military and leading private companies' websites, routing them through Chinese-controlled servers on April 8, 2010.

Accordingly, with the U.S. government bolstering its Cyber Warfare Command, one pertinent question is: What's the threshold for when the U.S. should launch a "cyber strike back?"

Thankfully, no such strike was launched against China, as evidence of the country's malfeasance quickly proved sketchy at best -- and a case of misplaced fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) at worst. Or in the words of the related Time Magazine story, "Everybody Panic!"

Experts shouting "FUD" back, however, thankfully hit the scene last Wednesday. In particular, Bob Poortinga, a senior analyst at high-technology engineering firm Technology Service Corp, estimated that at best, 1% of 2% of network prefixes -- not traffic -- had been "hijacked" globally and likely at a much lower level in the United States.

"My concern is that this 'report' will be presented to the U.S. Congress without being refuted by experts in the know," he said in a post to the North American Network Operators Group mailing list, in response to a related story in National Defense magazine. "My request is that someone with some gravitas please issue a press release setting the facts straight on this matter."

On Friday, Craig Labovitz, chief scientist at network security firm Arbor Networks, came to the rescue. "While traffic may have exhibited a modest increase to the Chinese Internet provider, I'd estimate diverted traffic never topped a handful of Gbps," he said in a blog post. "And in an Internet quickly approaching 80 to 100 Tbps, 1 to 3 Gbps of traffic is far from 15% (it is much closer to 0.015%)." In other words, news reports misstated the scale of the event by a factor of 1,000, using a metric -- traffic volumes -- that Labovitz called imprecise, at best.

Previous
1 of 2
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Cartoon
Current Issue
Dark Reading, September 16, 2014
Malicious software is morphing to be more targeted, stealthy, and destructive. Are you prepared to stop it?
Flash Poll
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2006-1318
Published: 2014-09-19
Microsoft Office 2003 SP1 and SP2, Office XP SP3, Office 2000 SP3, Office 2004 for Mac, and Office X for Mac do not properly parse record lengths, which allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code via a malformed control in an Office document, aka "Microsoft Office Control Vulnerability."

CVE-2012-2588
Published: 2014-09-19
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in MailEnable Enterprise 6.5 allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) From, (2) To, or (3) Subject header or (4) body in an SMTP e-mail message.

CVE-2012-6659
Published: 2014-09-19
Cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerability in the admin interface in Phorum before 5.2.19 allows remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via a crafted URL.

CVE-2014-1391
Published: 2014-09-19
QT Media Foundation in Apple OS X before 10.9.5 allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (memory corruption and application crash) via a crafted movie file with RLE encoding.

CVE-2014-3614
Published: 2014-09-19
Unspecified vulnerability in PowerDNS Recursor (aka pdns_recursor) 3.6.x before 3.6.1 allows remote attackers to cause a denial of service (crash) via an unknown sequence of malformed packets.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio