“What happened to the traffic while it was in China?” That’s what McAfee vice-president Dmitri Alperovitch wants to know, and by extension what I’d like to know. I mean, I won’t lose sleep over it, but I will casually think about it for the next hour or so. What am I talking about? Oh, you know, what could well have been the largest hacking in the history of the world.
It all went down in April. It’s alleged that China’s state-controlled telecommunications company, China Telecom, HIJACKED~! a solid 15 percent of the world’s Internet traffic. What exactly China did with that traffic, nobody knows.
Did they collect the traffic accidentally? Did they collect it merely to see what things today’s 15-year-olds are talking about in Seattle?
Or was it something far more sinister?
Nobody knows. Flat out, nobody knows.
The attack sounds like a man-in-the-middle attack. You (A) try to visit a site (CC) but end up going through a third-party (B) in the process. B passes the data onto C, and A is none the wise.
Apparently this type of thing happens fairly regularly, but never to the degree that it happened here. Think about it for a second: 15 percent of all Internet traffic. That’s 15 percent of the world’s e-mails, instant messages, files traded, etc.
The story smells of China-bashing, but it’s certainly interesting nonetheless.