Twitter Thwarts Route Hijacking with Free Service Available to Research and Education Networks

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By Steven Wallace - Director, Internet2 Routing Integrity

Estimated reading time: 1 minute

On Monday, March 28, the Russian ISP RTCOMM began blocking Twitter from their users. Due to a misconfiguration, for a period of 45-minutes, their routing leak had the ripple effect of attempting to hijack Twitter from the entire global internet. Fortunately, the hijack didn’t work.

In 2008 the same pattern played out when Pakistan Telecom accidentally hijacked YouTube. They were also trying to prevent Pakistan users from watching YouTube and accidentally hijacked it globally. Unfortunately, the hijack was successful, and YouTube was globally disrupted.

Internet2 can help!

We have been working with the community to enhance our collective Routing Integrity with tools such as RPKI ROAs.

To learn more about RPKI ROAs and how they can protect your network, send us an email at manrs@internet2.edu.

Why was Twitter successful in fighting off the hijack while YouTube wasn’t? Twitter succeeded because today much of the commercial internet use free and easy-to-implement routing protection called Resource Public Key Infrastructure (RPKI) Route Origination Authorizations (ROAs).

The U.S. research and education (R&E) community’s use of RPKI ROAs is currently about one-fifth the rate of global internet adoption. What are you doing to be proactive? Do you have a plan to use RPKI ROAs to protect your resources against similar outages?