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Nigerian ISP admits error which caused misrouting of Google traffic through China

Victor Barreiro Jr.
Nigerian internet provider MainOne says a misconfiguration in its Border Gateway Protocol filters caused traffic to Google to be misrouted through China and Russia

MANILA, Philippines – Nigerian internet firm MainOne disclosed on Tuesday, November 13, it had caused global Google traffic to be misrouted through China. 

The firm admitted it had done so through an error during a planned network upgrade – the result of a misconfiguration in its Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) filters.


<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>We have investigated the advertisement of <a href=””>@Google</a> prefixes through one of our upstream partners. This was an error during a planned network upgrade due to a misconfiguration on our BGP filters. The error was corrected within 74mins &amp; processes put in place to avoid reoccurrence</p>&mdash; MainOne (@Mainoneservice) <a href=””>November 13, 2018</a></blockquote>
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The misrouting, which occurred on Monday, November 12, caused some traffic sent to Google to be routed through China and Russia, and prompted fears of internet traffic hijacking.

Google, acknowledged the issue on Monday as being from an outside source. It did not comment on Main One’s Tuesday statement.

In its analysis of the issue, network monitoring firm ThousandEyes said the incident “further underscores one of the fundamental weaknesses in the fabric of the Internet.”

“BGP was designed to be a chain of trust between well-meaning ISPs and universities that blindly believe the information they receive. It hasn’t evolved to reflect the complex commercial and geopolitical relationships that exist between ISPs and nations today,” it explained. –

Victor Barreiro Jr.

Victor Barreiro Jr is part of Rappler's Central Desk. An avid patron of role-playing games and science fiction and fantasy shows, he also yearns to do good in the world, and hopes his work with Rappler helps to increase the good that's out there.