For more than an hour on Monday, Google experienced disruption in its search and cloud computing services after it lost control of several million IP addresses. Spotify and other large Google Cloud customers were also affected, as was security vendor Cloudflare, which experienced a similar problem.
The incident began wen a small Internet service provider (ISP) in Nigeria incorrectly updated routing tables with an erroneous path for reaching some Google and Cloudflare addresses. China Telecom accepted the bad information, and it began to spread around the globe.
Despite China’s involvement, Google and Cloudflare have both said the incident seems to have been an accident rather than the result of malicious activity. “If there was something nefarious afoot there would have been a lot more direct, and potentially less disruptive/detectable, ways to reroute traffic,” said Cloudfare CEO Matthew Prince. “This was a big, ugly screw up. Intentional route leaks we’ve seen to do things like steal cryptocurrency are typically far more targeted.”