China firm refutes US charge it hijacked internet

"China Telecom has never done such an act. These reports by foreign media are completely groundless," said Wang Yongzhen, a senior press official with the company, in response to a report titled "US/China Economic and Security Review Commission 2010 Report", the China Daily reported.

The US/China Economic and Security Review Commission 2010 Report stated that April 8, a "Chinese state-owned" telecom operator "hijacked" 15 percent of the world's internet traffic, including sensitive encrypted data, and held it on its servers for 18 minutes - during which time "anything could have a happened to it", London-based TelecomTV reported.

Wang said his company has always abided by and strictly followed relevant international regulations and standards for internet operations.

The flow of data across internet is managed by interconnected routing servers that determine the optimal pathways over which content is sent. These "best possible" routes change constantly in accordance with density of traffic and other parameters.
The news report said China Telecom's routing servers "suddenly began to tell others in other parts of the world that the optimum routing for traffic would be via China and its networks".

"The Chinese claim this was because of a system configuration error that could happen anywhere at any time."

Dmitri Alperovitch, a senior threat research analyst at McAfee, a web security company, said the capture of such massive amounts of data "is one of the biggest - if not the biggest hijacks - we have ever seen".

"No one except China Telecom knows what happened to the traffic during those 18 minutes. The possibilities are numerous and troubling," he said.The report further said that "all the traffic didn't simply pass through the company's servers unmolested".

One of the staff of the commission, Larry Wortzel, said: "China now has the internet addresses of everybody that communicated with the top brass of the US armed services during that mysterious 18 minutes.

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