For two hours last week, a BGP route leak resulted in large portions of European Internet traffic being routed through China Telecom’s network. This data rerouting affected an estimated 368 million IP addresses across Europe.
According to a report from Oracle, the incident started at 09:43, on June 6, 2019, and consisted of Swiss data center colocation company Safe Host accidentally leaking over 70,000 routes to China Telecom in Frankfurt, Germany.
The Chinese telecommunication company then announced these routes on to the global Internet, which resulted in large amounts of web traffic destined for some of the largest European mobile networks – including Swisscom of Switzerland, KPN of Holland, and Bouygues Telecom and Numericable-SFR of France – to be redirected through China Telecom’s network.
The Border Gateway Protocol (BGP), which is used to reroute traffic at the ISP (Internet Service Provider) level, has been known to be problematic to work with.
A similar rerouting of traffic through China Telelcom servers took place in April 2010, when approximately 15 percent of all internet traffic around the world passed through their systems.
The incident shows that the Chinese carrier has yet to take the necessary precautions to avoid similar re-routes from happening, and also proves that the problem of BGP route leaks continues to persist.