The re-routing has sparked national security fears in the United States, amid claims of a hack or hijack from one of Russia or China.

On Monday, November 12, 2018 internet monitoring firms ThousandEyes and BGPmon disclosed that some traffic to Alphabet Inc's Google had been routed through China and Russia, raising concerns that the communications had been intentionally hijacked.

Google acknowledged the problem on Monday in a post on its website and said it was investigating the glitch.

Google also said it believed the problem originated outside the company. The company did not say how many users were affected or identify specific customers, Reuters reports.

National security concerns in the United States

The U.S. China Economic and Security Review Commission, a Washington-based group that advises the U.S. Congress on security issues, said it was looking into the issue, according to Commissioner Michael Wessel.

"We will work to gain more facts about what has happened recently and look at what legal tools or legislation or law enforcement activities can help address this problem," Wessel said.

Ms. Funke Opeke, CEO, MainOne Cable Company.
Ms. Funke Opeke, CEO, MainOne Cable Company.

Main One said it had caused the problem by mistake. In an emailed statement, the company said it had “caused a 74-minute glitch by misconfiguring a border gateway protocol filter used to route traffic across the internet. That resulted in some Google traffic being sent through Main One partner China Telecom,”writes.

Experts have their say

Even though Main One said it was to blame, security experts who spoke to said the incident highlighted concerns about the potential for hackers to conduct espionage or disrupt communications by exploiting known vulnerabilities in the way traffic is routed over the internet.

Yuval Shavitt, a network security researcher at Tel Aviv University, said it was possible that Monday's issue was not an accident or mistake from Main One.

"You can always claim that this is some kind of configuration error,” Shavitt said.

Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Google HQ
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo at the Google HQ

Main One says it has investigated why the glitch happened

Main One announced that it has investigated the matter and implemented new processes to prevent it from happening again.

The United States maintains frosty diplomatic ties with Russia and China. The Donald Trump presidency and some of his partners are still being investigated by Special Counsel Robert Mueller over alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.

A section of America believes that the Russian state used hackers to manipulate the presidential election for Republican Donald Trump.

Data is one sure way to compromise national security. Facebook has been questioned as well for its role in the 2016 US election.

The traffic glitch caused by Main One is seen as one more ploy in the copybook of Russia and China to use U.S. data to further nefarious and dominance agenda.