Internet traffic hijack disrupts Google services

In this Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, photo, a woman carries a fire extinguisher past the logo for Google at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai. Internet traffic hijacking disrupted several Google services Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, including search and cloud-hosting services. (AP)
Updated 13 November 2018

Internet traffic hijack disrupts Google services

  • Google confirmed Monday’s disruption on a network status page but said only that it believed the cause was “external to Google”

CALIFORNIA: An Internet diversion that rerouted data traffic through Russia and China disrupted several Google services on Monday, including search and cloud-hosting services.
Service interruptions lasted for nearly two hours and ended about 5:30 p.m. EST., network service companies said. In addition to Russian and Chinese telecommunications companies, a Nigerian Internet provider was also involved.
Google confirmed Monday’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.
Alex Henthorn-Iwane, an executive at the network-intelligence company ThousandEyes, called Monday’s incident the worst affecting Google that his company has seen.
He said he suspected nation-state involvement because the traffic was effectively landing at state-run China Telecom. A recent study by US Naval War College and Tel Aviv University scholars says China systematically hijacks and diverts US Internet traffic.
Much of the Internet’s underpinnings are built on trust, a relic of the good intentions its designers assumed of users. One consequence: little can be done if a nation-state or someone with access to a major Internet provider decides to reroute traffic.
Henthorn-Iwane says Monday’s hijacking may have been “a war-game experiment.”
In two recent cases, such rerouting has affected financial sites. In April 2017, one affected Mastercard and Visa among other sites. This past April, another hijacking enabled cryptocurrency theft .
The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
ThousandEyes named the companies involved in Monday’s incident, in addition to China Telecom, as the Russian Internet provider Transtelecom and the Nigerian ISP MainOne.


South Korean TV ‘reunites’ mother with dead daughter in virtual reality show

This undated handout photo provided on February 14, 2020 by South Korea's Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) in Seoul shows a scene of a documentary "I met you" where a mother meets her dead daughter through virtual reality. (AFP)
Updated 18 February 2020

South Korean TV ‘reunites’ mother with dead daughter in virtual reality show

  • The footage began with the girl — who died of leukaemia in 2016 — emerging from behind a pile of wood in a park, as if playing hide-and-seek
  • “I have missed you Na-yeon,” she told the computer-generated six-year-old, her hands moving to stroke her hair

SEOUL: A tearful reunion between a mother and her dead daughter via advanced virtual reality for a South Korean television has become an online hit, triggering fierce debate about voyeurism and exploitation.
The footage began with the girl — who died of leukaemia in 2016 — emerging from behind a pile of wood in a park, as if playing hide-and-seek.
“Mum, where have you been?” she asks. “I’ve missed you a lot. Have you missed me?“
Tears streaming down her face, Jang Ji-sung reached out toward her, wracked with emotion.
“I have missed you Na-yeon,” she told the computer-generated six-year-old, her hands moving to stroke her hair.
But in the real world, Jang was standing in front of a studio green screen, wearing a virtual reality headset and touch-sensitive gloves, her daughter’s ashes in a locket around her neck.
At times the camera cut to Jang’s watching husband and their three surviving children, wiping away tears of their own.
A nine-minute clip of the Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) documentary “I met you” has been watched more than 13 million times in a week on Youtube.
Many viewers offered Jang their sympathy and support for the concept.
“My mother unexpectedly passed away two years ago and I wish I could meet her through virtual reality,” said one.
But media columnist Park Sang-hyun said the documentary amounted to exploitation of personal pain.
“It’s understandable a grief-stricken mother would wish to meet her late daughter. I would do the same,” he told AFP.
“The problem lies in that the broadcaster has taken advantage of a vulnerable mother who lost a child for sake of the viewer ratings.”
“If the mother had been counselled before the filming,” he added, “I wonder what kind of a psychiatrist would approve this.”

It took eight months of filming and programming to create the virtual Na-yeon, but the makers of the documentary insisted the broadcast was intended to “console the family” rather than promote virtual reality in ultra-wired South Korea.
The technology presented a “new way to keep loved ones in memory,” one of the producers told reporters.
Jang herself — who has her daughter’s name and date of birth tattooed on her arm in memory — hoped the program could “console” others who had lost loved ones.
“Even though it was a very brief... I was really happy in the moment,” she wrote on her blog — which she has since turned private.
During the broadcast the two sat at a table to celebrate Na-yeon’s missing birthdays, singing “happy birthday” together.
Before blowing out the candles, Na-yeon made a birthday wish: “I want my mother to stop crying.”