Pakistani Error Knocks Out Global YouTube Traffic

Written by Evan Schuman
February 26th, 2008

With so many companies today relying on the Internet as the guts of their communication strategy–a reliance that is only getting more intense as VoIP deployments soar–another Internet vulnerability came to light this week, when a Pakistani telecom firm unintentionally blocked some two-thirds of the world’s access to YouTube.

This move comes on top of an incident earlier this month when an undersea cable was cut near Dubai, also wreaking havoc with global Internet traffic. Are more robust safeguards needed? Is these kinds of disruptions can be happen so easily by accidents, how vulnerable would they be to deliberate terrorist efforts?

This weekend’s incident began when the Pakistani government ordered access to YouTube to be cut off from that country’s citizens. Although that order was evil in and of itself, initial reports suggest that the problem was actually innocent.

According to this Associated Press story, the problem involved the method the telco tried to block that access.

The "Pakistani telecommunications company complied with the block by directing requests for YouTube videos to a ‘black hole.’ So instead of serving up videos of skateboarding dogs, it sent the traffic into oblivion," the AP story said. "The problem was that the company also accidentally identified itself to Internet computers as the world’s fastest route to YouTube, leading requests from across the Internet to the black hole."

Internet efforts must be taken seriously, which means that requests to reroute traffic or to change a domain ownership or anything else need to be verified in a meaningful way.


Comments are closed.


StorefrontBacktalk delivers the latest retail technology news & analysis. Join more than 60,000 retail IT leaders who subscribe to our free weekly email. Sign up today!

Most Recent Comments

Why Did Gonzales Hackers Like European Cards So Much Better?

I am still unclear about the core point here-- why higher value of European cards. Supply and demand, yes, makes sense. But the fact that the cards were chip and pin (EMV) should make them less valuable because that demonstrably reduces the ability to use them fraudulently. Did the author mean that the chip and pin cards could be used in a country where EMV is not implemented--the US--and this mis-match make it easier to us them since the issuing banks may not have as robust anti-fraud controls as non-EMV banks because they assumed EMV would do the fraud prevention for them Read more...
Two possible reasons that I can think of and have seen in the past - 1) Cards issued by European banks when used online cross border don't usually support AVS checks. So, when a European card is used with a billing address that's in the US, an ecom merchant wouldn't necessarily know that the shipping zip code doesn't match the billing code. 2) Also, in offline chip countries the card determines whether or not a transaction is approved, not the issuer. In my experience, European issuers haven't developed the same checks on authorization requests as US issuers. So, these cards might be more valuable because they are more likely to get approved. Read more...
A smart card slot in terminals doesn't mean there is a reader or that the reader is activated. Then, activated reader or not, the U.S. processors don't have apps certified or ready to load into those terminals to accept and process smart card transactions just yet. Don't get your card(t) before the terminal (horse). Read more...
The marketplace does speak. More fraud capacity translates to higher value for the stolen data. Because nearly 100% of all US transactions are authorized online in real time, we have less fraud regardless of whether the card is Magstripe only or chip and PIn. Hence, $10 prices for US cards vs $25 for the European counterparts. Read more...
@David True. The European cards have both an EMV chip AND a mag stripe. Europeans may generally use the chip for their transactions, but the insecure stripe remains vulnerable to skimming, whether it be from a false front on an ATM or a dishonest waiter with a handheld skimmer. If their stripe is skimmed, the track data can still be cloned and used fraudulently in the United States. If European banks only detect fraud from 9-5 GMT, that might explain why American criminals prefer them over American bank issued cards, who have fraud detection in place 24x7. Read more...

Our apologies. Due to legal and security copyright issues, we can't facilitate the printing of Premium Content. If you absolutely need a hard copy, please contact customer service.