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This Article Is Highly Technical, but It Shows You Just How China Steals

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We try to present articles that are important and high-level but not necessarily highly technical. Most technical specifications are needless and the points the reporter is trying to make can be expressed in plain English or with helpful metaphors. But there are exceptions.

Some articles are so important and disturbing they need to be presented in technical form so the reader can grasp the depth of the problem. This is one such article.

Most people understand that internet message traffic is broken into packets that move through specified routes and channels and are then reassembled on whatever device is receiving the message. This method is highly efficient and avoids message “traffic jams” that would result if all messages were sent through a narrow set of channels. However, the channels themselves are regulated and guarded to avoid exposure of message traffic to hostile or untrustworthy actors.

Recently, a Swiss data center leaked 70,000 sensitive internet traffic routes. Those routes were quickly published by China Telecom, which caused a huge volume of message traffic to redirect through those routes. This in turn allowed the Chinese government (which controls China Telecom) to steal the information contained in that message traffic. (You can see the designation CHINANET BACKBONE NETWORK on the routing data from a Google view shown in the article).

China steals an enormous amount of Western intellectual property through sophisticated and illegal hacking. This time the data dump was handed to them on a silver platter.

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