Internet traffic hijack disrupts Google services

An internet diversion that rerouted data traffic through Russia and China disrupted several Google services yesterday, including search and cloud-hosting services.

According to network service companies, service interruptions lasted for nearly two hours and ended about 2:30 in the afternoon.  In addition to Russian and Chinese telecommunications companies, a Nigerian internet provider was also involved.

Google confirmed yesterday’s disruption on a network status page but said only that it believed the cause was "external to Google." The company had little additional comment.

The specific method employed, formally known as border gateway protocol hijacking, can knock essential services offline and facilitate espionage and financial theft. Most network traffic to Google services —94 percent as of October 27 — is encrypted, which shields it from prying eyes even if diverted.


Dawn Kamber