amazon, microsoft
Vilius Petkauskas , Journalist Updated on: 09 August 2022
amazon, microsoft

Image by Shutterstock.

Nation states and financially motivated attackers can exploit the trusting nature of world wide web data router the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) to gather intelligence or steal funds, experts say.

Data from the Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS), an initiative for reducing routing threats, suggests that for 12 hours last month, the network traffic Apple customers use to access the company’s services was redirected to Rostelecom, Russia’s state-owned telecommunications company.

While MANRS researchers noted there was no information on whether any data was stolen or services affected, the incident would suggest a BGP hijacking if the traffic were rerouted on purpose.

Karim Hijazi, CEO of cyber intelligence company Prevailion, explained that the BGP is a routing protocol for the internet. Its purpose is to route traffic via the most direct path to its destination.

“The problem with BGP, however, is that it’s essentially based on trust. BGP relies on each network node to tell the truth about which IP addresses it owns. If those networks aren’t telling the truth, internet traffic can be intercepted or disrupted,” Hijazi told Cybernews.

amazon, microsoft

Kremlin walls. Image by Shutterstock.

Hijacking street signs

Since the BGP was built on protocol, there are no inherent security measures to prevent accidental or deliberate hijacking attempts. For example, in 2008, Pakistan Telecom inadvertently shut down YouTube for most of the planet.

Acting under government instructions to ban access to the popular video platform, the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority accidentally routed virtually all of YouTube traffic to Pakistan, crashing the servers of local internet providers and YouTube as well.

Other attackers have employed BGP hijacking for financial gain. Unknown attackers took over traffic destined for networks belonging to Amazon, OVH, Digital Ocean, and others for four months in 2014.

It is estimated that the hijacker used the attack to redirect crypto miners’ connections to a mining pool controlled by the attackers, allowing them to illicitly earn around $83,000 worth of crypto.

According to Steven Erwin, incident response consultant at cybersecurity firm TrustedSec, the inbuilt trust of the BGP not only makes attacks possible but also makes them regular.

“This isn’t uncommon, due to the inherent trust between BGP operators and the limited amount of BGP security. There have been a few examples of this where BGP hijacking has ended in cryptocurrency theft [and taken] away countries’ ability to use the internet,” Erwin said.

“The problem with BGP, however, is that it’s essentially based on trust. BGP relies on each network node to tell the truth about which IP addresses it owns. If those networks aren’t telling the truth, internet traffic can be intercepted or disrupted,”

Karim Hijazi, CEO of cyber intelligence company Prevailion, said.

Nation-state league

Nation-states are the likeliest culprits behind BGP hijacking attacks. That’s due to the system design, since to trick the BGP attackers must control the autonomous system numbers that are mostly managed by internet service providers (ISPs) and governments.

Hijazi explained that BGP hijacking could benefit nation-states in several ways. Most obviously, intercepting web traffic allows an attacker to peek into the data flow and shut down internet access to large swathes of the population.

“A repressive regime could use BGP hijacking to suppress various websites and cut its domestic population off from huge swathes of the world wide web. They can also target specific websites for surveillance purposes, by determining who is visiting those sites and intercepting any or all communications,” Hijazi said.

If Russia did redirect Apple’s traffic intentionally, it wouldn’t be the first time that large tranches of internet chatter were redirected to Russia’s servers. For example, in 2017, traffic for major tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitch, and Microsoft was routed through a Russian ISP.

A year later, the Chinese government-controlled ISP rerouted traffic from Europe’s biggest mobile providers. The data went to Europe through China for more than two hours.

TECH NEWS RELATED

Some Flipkart Users Whose iPhone 13 Order Was Cancelled Are Now Getting Rs 10,000 Coupon From the E-commerce Platform

Flipkart Big Billion Days sale is currently live. The Flipkart sale ends on September 30 and is offering heavy discounts and offers on several products to consumers in India. During the sale, the iPhone 13 was available for under Rs 50,000. Currently, customers can purchase the iPhone 13 for ...

View more: Some Flipkart Users Whose iPhone 13 Order Was Cancelled Are Now Getting Rs 10,000 Coupon From the E-commerce Platform

South Korean telcos raise subsidies on Galaxy Z Flip 4 ahead of iPhone 14 launch

Each new iPhone launch affects the sales of Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones. This year, Apple launched four new iPhones: iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. These devices will launch in South Korea next month, and ahead of the launch, carriers have started offering ...

View more: South Korean telcos raise subsidies on Galaxy Z Flip 4 ahead of iPhone 14 launch

Apple confirms manufacturing iPhone 14 in India

In a bid to diversify its supply chain outside China, Apple has confirmed it has begun manufacturing iPhone 14 in India. According to MoneyControl, Apple said in a statement that the new iPhone 14 lineup introduces groundbreaking new technologies and important safety capabilities and that the company is excited ...

View more: Apple confirms manufacturing iPhone 14 in India

The iPhone 14 Pro Action Mode is incredible, here's why

Action Mode gives the iPhone 14 Pro a huge advantage for video, all but eliminating the need for a gimbal

View more: The iPhone 14 Pro Action Mode is incredible, here's why

Adware on Google Play and Apple Store Gathers 13 Million Installs

A BleepingComputer article revealed that security researchers had discovered 75 applications on Google Play and another ten on Apple’s App Store, which is engaged in ad fraud. Both have accumulated 13 million downloads which can be alarming. The adware floods users with visible and hidden advertisements and the fraudulent ...

View more: Adware on Google Play and Apple Store Gathers 13 Million Installs

iOS 16.1 is bringing a new live scoreboard for the Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro

The Dynamic Island has been quite useful so far, in terms of making the pill-shaped cutout look more attractive instead of a distraction. iOS 16.1 is currently in beta mode and it’s said that the software update will bring something new. Promptly called the Live Activities, it will also ...

View more: iOS 16.1 is bringing a new live scoreboard for the Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro

iOS 16 bug breaks support for Cinematic videos in Final Cut Pro

AppleInsider is supported by its audience and may earn commission as an Amazon Associate and affiliate partner on qualifying purchases. These affiliate partnerships do not influence our editorial content. A recently discovered bug in iOS 16 renders users unable to open Cinematic videos in both iMovie and Final Cut ...

View more: iOS 16 bug breaks support for Cinematic videos in Final Cut Pro

Apple iPhone 14 Pro China Sales Skyrockets! While 14 Series is Down by 71%?

Apple iPhone 14 Pro model sales in China are skyrocketing as the latest flagship smartphone of the Cupertino-based tech giant reaches the Asian territory. However, it appears that the standard iPhone 14 series, which includes the entry-level iPhone 14 and the new iPhone 14 Plus variant, is getting significantly lower ...

View more: Apple iPhone 14 Pro China Sales Skyrockets! While 14 Series is Down by 71%?

How to Make Custom Watch Faces for Apple Watch

You should be watching Tehran on Apple TV Plus if you love spy shows

IPhone Users Can No Longer Trade The Forex Market On Their Phones

Customers cry foul after iPhone orders on Flipkart cancelled during festive season sale

iOS 16.1 will turn the iPhone 14 Pro’s Dynamic Island into a live scoreboard

Apple-AT&T Identity Thieves Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison

Dump Passwords on Your iPhone. Apple's New iOS 16 Feature Is More Secure

New on Apple TV+ Canada: October 2022

iPhone 15 Ultra rumoured to feature two selfie cameras

Every major Apple hardware reveal to expect in 2023

Apple starts iPhone 14/14 Plus manufacturing in India

Apple Watch Ultra battery is 76% larger than Series 8

OTHER TECH NEWS

Top Car News Car News