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DOJ, DOD Join FCC to Support Internet Routing Security

September 15, 2022 by Madeline Hughes
DOJ, DOD Join FCC to Support Internet Routing Security

WASHINGTON — The Department of Justice and Department of Defense are joining with the Federal Communications Commission to support the improvement of internet routing security.

This comes after the commission launched a Notice of Inquiry in February seeking comment on the vulnerabilities of the Border Gateway Protocol — the central way information is routed on the internet.

“We applaud the FCC’s decision to launch this inquiry on this important issue,” said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen of the Justice Department’s National Security Division in a statement Wednesday. “We appreciate the opportunity to provide our input on how to address vulnerabilities threatening the security of internet routing.”

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency have also submitted comments for this notice of inquiry.

The commission is using this to ensure American internet security, primarily to ensure information is being accessed as people intend.

There are vulnerabilities in the Border Gateway Protocol that can allow “routers to falsely advertise that its network contains the intended destination for certain Internet traffic, or is on the path to that destination,” according to the commission’s notice.

“By advertising incorrect routing information, a bad actor could spread incorrect information to other networks and cause traffic intended for the advertised destination to be misrouted to, or through, the bad actor’s network.”

That allows state actors like China or Russia to hijack American internet traffic, bringing it to their own websites.

There’s been “instances in which traffic has been redirected through Russia without explanation. In late 2017, for example, traffic sent to and from Google, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft was briefly routed through an Internet service provider in Russia,” according to the commission’s notice. 

“That same year, traffic from a number of financial institutions, including MasterCard, Visa, and others was also routed through a Russian government-controlled telecommunications company under ‘unexplained’ circumstances.”

Madeline can be reached at maddie@thewellnews.com and @ByMaddieHughes

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