Hundreds of reports of a problem affecting networks in countries around the world are due to a technical error, says Telstra, an Australian-based telecommunications company. Fears about a cyber attack soared after ProtonMail, a secure email service, reported that Telstra was diverting network traffic.
Just a few hours ago, ProtonMail posted a message to his Twitter account saying that “a Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) hijacking incident was affecting his network, so connectivity to his services was disrupted.” ProtonMail pointed directly to Telstra for announcing its 126.96.36.199/24 subnet without authorization.
The email service also pointed to a resource managed by the web infrastructure in Cloudflare that showed that more than 102 networks were affected by this sudden behavior. While this does not compromise ProtonMail-managed data in any way, its services are affected.
In this regard, a Telstra spokesperson mentioned that the error that forced this conduct had already been corrected, supporting ProtonMail’s statement on the status of confidential information: “A technical error was filed on Monday night, so several Internet prefixes were incorrectly announced as part of Telstra.” In other words, some of the traffic from the affected networks may have been routed to Tesltra erroneously, although the company notes that the traffic affected is negligible in proportion to the total traffic.
It should be remembered that BGP hijacking is a cyberattack variant in which threat actors replace the legitimate direction of internet traffic with one under their control. In theory this attack allows malicious hackers directing traffic to other websites and even intercepting sensitive information from victims.
This was not the case, so the companies involved have begun to rule out the possibility of a cyberattack, although Telstra has not added additional details about the technical error that caused these failures.