Nigeria’s Main One Cable Co has taken responsibility on Tuesday for a glitch that temporarily caused some Google global traffic to be misrouted through China, saying it accidentally caused the problem during a network upgrade.
The issue surfaced on Monday afternoon as internet monitoring firms ThousandEyes and BGPmon said some traffic to Alphabet Inc’s Google had been routed through China and Russia, raising concerns that the communications had been intentionally hijacked.
Main One said in an email that it had caused a 74-minute glitch by misconfiguring a border gateway protocol filter used to route traffic across the internet. That resulted in some Google traffic being sent through Main One partner China Telecom, the West African firm said.
Google representatives could not be reached on Tuesday to comment on Main One’s statement.
Yuval Shavitt, a network security researcher at Tel Aviv University, said it was possible that Monday’s issue was not an accident.
“You can always claim that this is some kind of configuration error,” said Shavitt, who last month co-authored a paper alleging that the Chinese government had conducted a series of internet hijacks.
Even though Main One said it was to blame, some security experts said the incident highlighted concerns about the potential for hackers to conduct espionage or disrupt communications by exploiting known vulnerabilities in the way traffic is routed over the internet.
Glitches in border gateway protocol filters have caused multiple outages to date, including cases where traffic from U.S. internet and financial services firms was routed through Russia, China and Belarus.