Nigerian ISP says error caused disruption in Google services


In this Monday, Nov. 5, 2018, photo, a woman carries a fire extinguisher past the logo for Google at the China International Import Expo in Shanghai. Internet traffic hijacking disrupted several Google services Monday, Nov. 12, 2018, including search and cloud-hosting services. (Photo: AP) 

A Nigerian internet service provider says a configuration error it made during a network upgrade caused a disruption of key Google services that routed traffic to China and Russia.

Before MainOne tweeted the explanation Tuesday, there was speculation the data hijacking may have been intentional.

The type of traffic misdirection employed can be used to spy on or steal data or send it into an internet black hole. Experts say China, in particular, has systematically hijacked and divert US internet traffic. But the problem can also come from misconfiguration.

The vulnerability exploited is built into the internet, which was designed for collaboration by trusted parties not competition by hostile nation-states.

Google’s search, cloud hosting and business tools were among the services disrupted for more than an hour Monday.