China has been ‘hijacking the vital internet backbone of western countries’
A Chinese state-owned telecommunications company has been ‘hijacking the vital internet backbone of western countries,’ according to an academic paper published this week by researchers from the US Naval War College and Tel Aviv University. The culprit is China Telecom, the country’s third-largest telco and internet service provider (ISP), which has had a presence inside North American networks since the early 2000s when it created its first point-of-presence (PoP). PoPs are data centers that do nothing more than re-route traffic between all the smaller networks that make up the larger internet.
These smaller networks are known as ‘autonomous systems’ (AS) and they can be the networks of big tech companies like Google, your friendly neighborhood ISP, big tier-1 ISPs like Verizon, university networks, bank networks, web hosting companies, and all entities big enough to have received their own block of IP addresses.