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How China Spies On Oz Net Traffic

Internet traffic heading to Australia was diverted via mainland China over a six-day period last year, in a move that some experts believe may have enabled a major data theft.

The diversion of traffic from Europe and North America at the time was logged as a routing error by the state-owned China Telecom, according to researchers at Tel Aviv University and the Naval War College in the US.

“We noticed unusual and systematic hijacking patterns associated with China Telecom,” one of the researchers, Yuval Shavitt, a professor at Tel Aviv University, told Fairfax Media.

The targeting of data bound for Australia comes amid revelations that China’s peak security agency has overseen a surge in cyber attacks on Australian companies over the past year, breaching a bilateral agreement to not steal each other’s commercial secrets.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has expressed concern about the increased number and severity of cyber attacks and said they were imposing a multibillion-dollar cost on the Australian economy.

“It is unacceptable behaviour by any state actor – or non-state actor for that matter – to attempt to exploit government IT systems or businesses,” he said.

China Telecom said its routing strategy fully complies with global standards and denied it had “hijacked” traffic going through its network.

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