Google outage blamed on misdirected traffic through Russia, China

JC Torres - Nov 12, 2018, 9:51pm CST
Google outage blamed on misdirected traffic through Russia, China

Google’s Internet services and API are one of the most used in the world to the point that prolonged unavailability of those services could cripple businesses and users alike. So when some users reported that they were unable to reach parts of Google’s services, it’s not surprising that some were on the verge of panic. Google has reported that it has resolved those issues and is conducting an internal investigation on what happened. But considering what happened involved Internet traffic being routed through unintended networks in other countries, it might be a bit too early to celebrate.

The “outage” didn’t exactly take that long nor did it affect all Google users, otherwise the Internet would have been in an uproar. It did affect more than enough people to prompt an investigation. And considering what may have happened, it’s probably good that it did.

The official statement from Google’s Cloud Status Dashboard was that Google Cloud IP addresses were being “erroneously advertised by Internet service providers other than Google. In a nutshell, what this meant was that was intended to go to these Google services were, instead, misdirected and routed to other places. The Wall Street Journal reports that those other places included TransTelekom in Russia, China Telecom Corp, and Nigeria’s MainOne.

These countries’ name might cause some to worry about such misdirected Internet traffic but Google says not to worry. Data going to and from it are, more often than not, encrypted and protected against snooping and spying that could result from such an incident. There’s also a possibility that the problem was simply caused by human error.

It’s not on Google’s side at least, the tech giant says, explaining that the root cause might be external to the company. That’s not exactly very reassuring, especially if Google won’t divulge the results of its investigation. Everything is green now, though there still seems to be some odd behavior happening on Google Search, but the brief incident does highlight how fragile and convoluted our entire Internet ecosystem has become.

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