Facebook Traffic Takes Strange Detour Through China

Facebooks users’ updates may have traveled through China earlier this week. From Forbes:

Cybersecurity researcher Barrett Lyon, who has focused on mapping the Internet and its paths, wrote on his blog Tuesday that traffic to Facebook on AT&T’s network Tuesday morning traveled through Chinanet, then on to the Korean ISP SK Broadband before traversing the Pacific Ocean back to Facebook. “This means that anything you looked at via Facebook without encryption was exposed to anyone operating Chinanet, which has a very suspect modus operandi,” Lyon writes.

Lyon blames an error related to AT&T’s Border Gateway Protocol systems, which control how data flows between broadband providers. And it wouldn’t be the first time. In November of last year, a fraction of the entire Internet flowed through China’s networks, according to researchers tracking the issue from the security firm McAfee. Though the hijack was initially thought to have affected a massive 15% of the Internet’s traffic, later estimates by other researchers revised it down to .015%–still a significant amount of data flowing through a country known to throttle the Internet, block services and collect large amounts of data for surveillance.

To encrypt your Facebook account, go to Account Settings –> Account Security and check the box for Secure Browsing.

March 24, 2011 12:23 PM
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