Did Russia's biggest ISP just try and steal Apple network traffic?

Apple Store
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Russia’s biggest internet services provider has apparently tried to re-route traffic made by Apple service users through its own servers

Experts have claimed Rostelecom announced routes for part of Apple's network, a practice known as Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) hijacking. The internet works in a way that the users don’t get to choose the data path between their endpoints and the services they’re trying to use - all of that is done behind the scenes. In this case, Rostelecom servers tried to pose as the route to reach Apple’s servers.

To give the Russians the benefit of a doubt, this could be an internet configuration error - or, it could also be a deliberate attempt at traffic hijacking. 


The news broke out on Mutually Agreed Norms for Routing Security (MANRS), a public interest group monitoring internet routing. One of the group’s senior managers, Aftab Siddiqui, said in a blog post that the Russian telecom made these moves periodically, over July 26, and July 27.

Apple fought back by announcing more specific routes to its services. 

"When the routes a network is announcing are not covered by valid Route Origin Authorization (ROA)," it was said in the MANRS blog post, "the only option during a route hijack is to announce more specific routes. This is exactly what Apple Engineering did today."

After roughly 12 hours, the announcements ceased. 

"We are not aware of any information yet from Apple that indicates what, if any, Apple services were affected," the blog further states. "We also have not seen any information from Rostelecom about whether this was a configuration mistake or a deliberate action."

Apple’s services were not disrupted during this time, and users were able to access them normally. There were no complaints of crashes or other disturbances. Apple did not comment.

Via: The Register

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.