China Telecom denies hijacking U.S. Web traffic

HONG KONG Wed Nov 17, 2010 7:50am EST

A woman uses a public telephone in Shanghai July 16, 2003. REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV

A woman uses a public telephone in Shanghai July 16, 2003.

Credit: Reuters/Claro Cortes IV

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HONG KONG (Reuters) - China Telecom denied on Wednesday that it had "hijacked" U.S. Internet traffic in April, after a U.S. congressional advisory group said the company had sent incorrect routing information.

The incident resulted in Internet traffic to major corporate websites and U.S. military and government sites being sent through China for 18 minutes, according to the report, a draft copy of which was obtained by Reuters.

"The spokesman of China Telecom Corporation Limited denied any hijack of internet traffic," the state-controlled company said in a brief statement emailed to Reuters.

A report from the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission said the Web traffic, much of which originated in the United States and was directed toward U.S. corporate and government websites, should have travelled by the shortest available route, and not through China.

The incident was one of several discussed by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

Some of the traffic was headed to sites owned by the U.S. Senate, the office of the Secretary of Defense, NASA and the Commerce Department, the draft said.

The commission said it was unclear whether the hijacking was intentional or whether any data was collected or stopped, or if the massive amount of data affected concealed a targeted attack.

The body which wrote the report was set up in 2000 to advise the U.S. Congress on the economic and national security implications of the U.S.-China relationship.

(Reporting by Doug Young; Editing by Daniel Magnowski)

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